TIMELINES: Where did the world’s first large-scale wind turbine-powered building open April 8, 2008?

April 8, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Sunday, April 8, 2012


April 8, 2008, all three wind turbines on the technologically groundbreaking Bahrain World Trade Center building (BWTC) in Manama, Bahrain are simultaneously activated for full operation, competing the structure’s construction. The Atkins designed BWTC is considered the first building of its scale to incorporate wind turbine technology. From a distance, the BWTC strikingly resembles two enormous sails floating near the Arabian Gulf. The 50-story structure consists of two identical sail-shaped towers that stand over 787-feet (240 meters) each. Each wind turbine is 95-feet in diameter (29meters) and capable of 1,200-megawatts of electricity. The three combined turbines generate approximately 10-15 percent of the power for both towers.


Today, the Freedom Tower being built in New York City to replace the Word Trade Center, was originally designed to include wind turbines above the 60th floor at 1,200 feet. This proposed “world’s first urban wind farm,” would have incorporated a series of small turbines in an open latticework design, and was expected to generate about 20 percent of the building’s energy needs. However, the design raised a variety of security and environmental concerns: iced-up blades could result in the launch of ice dangerous ice missiles; blades could come off posing considerable danger to the city below; migrating birds could be slaughtered en masse; the vibration could cause loud noise and/or the entire building to vibrate; any irregularities in the turbine could result in loud, amplified sounds. Because of the concerns, and overall inadequate security provisions, the building was redesigned without the wind farm. The building is schedule for completion in 2015.