Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon is acquiring a wind assessment buoy that will collect wind data. MAREC has received final federal approval to proceed with the three-year, offshore wind assessment study.

Manufactured by Axys Technologies Inc. of Sidney, British Columbia, the buoy, called WindSentinel, will deploy into Lake Michigan in September. It will come equipped with a laser wind sensor manufacutured by Catch the Wind of Virginia to measure offshore wind conditions. The buoy will serve as a platform, with the technology secured on top.

“This is the first time this laser wind sensing technology is being used on a floating platform in the Great Lakes,” said Arn Boezaart, director of MAREC. “The WindSentinel will provide real-time, in-the-water data using the most advanced wind testing equipment. The flexibility and mobility of the buoy compared to constructing a fixed meteorological tower will provide a new level of research capability.”

Data will be transmitted from the research buoy to a shore station where it will be evaluated and analyzed by researchers in Grand Valley’s Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. Then remote sensing data will be sent to researchers at the University of Michigan and its Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory of Michigan State University Extension for more comprehensive analysis. Work at MNFI will focus on bird and bat studies.

Effective April 1, James B. Edmonson will serve as project manager for the wind assessment study. He brings a background in geology, geography and spatial planning. The U.S. Department of Energy, the Michigan Public Service Commission, We Energies of Wisconsin and Sierra Club provided funding for the project.

he primary objective of the wind study assessment is to gain a better understanding of offshore wind energy, as well as other physical, biological and environmental conditions on the Great Lakes. The research will provide information for the future development of offshore wind energy technology. In June 2010, the project secured $3.1 million in grants and research funds, including a $1.36 million energy efficiency grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

For more information, contact Boezaart at (616) 331-6901 or Jim Edmonson at (231) 557-8543. More about Axys at


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