Grand Valley Readies For Wind Assessment In Lake Michigan

MUSKEGON — A celebration ceremony is planned for the arrival of the research buoy for the Lake Michigan offshore wind assessment study that will be conducted by Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan and Michigan State University. The buoy will support state-of-the-art research opportunities in Lake Michigan for the next 10 years.

The research buoy, one of three in the world, is an eight-ton, 20-by-10 foot boat-shaped structure that can measure wind characteristics up to 150 meters above the water using advanced wind sensor technology. The WindSentinel buoy was constructed by Axys Technologies of British Columbia, and will come equipped with a Vindicator laser wind sensor manufactured by Catch the Wind Inc. of Virginia.

The launch of the buoy in the Great Lakes is the first introduction of this technology anywhere in North America, said Arn Boezaart, director of Grand Valley’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center.

“The research buoy and laser pulse technology represents the most advanced wind measurement technology available and will help to dramatically increase data affecting the development of those resources,” he said.

The dedication will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the Lake Michigan National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Field Station, 1431 Beach St., Muskegon.

Following a week of tests on Muskegon Lake, the buoy will move four miles offshore on Lake Michigan for a month-long trial.

Real-time data will be transmitted from the platform to researchers at Grand Valley, University of Michigan and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory of Michigan State University. The research will provide information to support possible future development of offshore wind energy technology in the Great Lakes. MNFI research will focus on bird and bat flight patterns and migration studies.

The primary objective of the Lake Michigan offshore wind assessment is to gain a better understanding of the potential 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 $3.3 million in grants and research funds, including a $1.33 million energy efficiency grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Funding partners include the U.S. Department of Energy, the Michigan Public Service Commission, We Energies, University of Michigan and Sierra Club.

Research partners include: Grand Valley’s MAREC and Padnos College of Engineering and Computing; University of Michigan College of Engineering, School of Natural Resources and Environment and Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute; and Michigan Natural Features Inventory, an extension of Michigan State University.

  • Thomas Marks

    What an outrage that we are wasting money on a technology that can not deliver meaningful power. Wind is so unreliable, unpredictable, has no capacitry value not to mention a huge impact on migrating birds and bats. These things are environmental and economic nightmares.
    How can can anyone support paying millions for research and billions for subsidies that support industries overseas. The promise of jobs is a sick joke by the wind zealots. The US has had more installed wind generating capacity than any other country in the world up to 2009 yet we have had practically no wind turbine manufacturing here. GE manufactures wind turbines but most of it is done in Asia or Europe.
    How can anyone support subsidies for wind energy when the Federal government does not have to money to give social security recipients a cost of living increase? How can anyone support wind energy subsidies when congress has on the table cuts to medicare and social security. We are securing jobs and creating wealth overseas on the backs of our seriors. What is wrong with our congress and the supporters of wind energy. Seniors are entitled to Social Security and Medicare they paid into the system all their working lives! Wind developers are selling us an unsustainable industry… it is a scam all they want is our money they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

  • Suzanne Albright

    Last week in New York, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) passed a resolution to abandon their proposed offshore industrial wind project (GLOW) in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie. There had been 2 years of opposition from shoreline communities, including “no resolutions” from 7 counties and multiple towns. The growing opposition was based on information to support that digging up the toxins below the lake bottom would once again pollute our precious lakes, that tourism and fishing would be negatively impacted, property values along the shorew would be negatively impacted, that damage to the turbines during severe winter storms would result in exploding and damaged turbines that would ultimately be left to cllapse and rust in the lakes, that ultimately jobs would be lost, that migrating birds and waterfowl would be slaughtered, that energy costs would skyrocket, and more.
    NYPA admitted community concern was a factor in withdrawing plans for the project, but also cited that it is not “fiscally prudent”, stating the $60-100 million annually needed to support the project, especially when upstate New Yorkers have ample, relatively inexpensive electricity, made no sense. Although it wasn’t stated, it is common knowledge that there will always be a need for traditional forms of energy to remain in place due to the unreliability and unpredictability of wind energy, so there would be no decrease in carbon emissions as a result of adding a supplemental energy source.
    Face it, the science and economics do not support wind energy, and the negative impacts are overwhelming. The only thing “green” about it is the need for government subsidies, increased taxes and energy costs to consumers, and the amount of US money sent to foreign manufacturers.
    What a sad, pathetic waste of money for Lake Michigan. We can only hope that residents around the lake will unite and fight this tooth and nail.

  • Richard Roach

    Apparently news travels slowly. The Province of Ontario has put a moratorium on offshore wind factories, and the New York Power Authority has withdrawn from its Great Lakes offshore project, GLOW, because it makes no economic sense. Why would the good people of Michigan be duped into putting tax money and money through higher electric rates in such a project?

  • Lindy

    Millions of tax dollars for another grant! Will the ALL data be relaesed to the public? Will the “real time” data be availbe online. Or will the results be hidden to fit an agenda? Wind enregy has proven to be an unreliable and unpredictable source of electricity over and over again.
    Will a cost/ benefit analysis be done or are peolpe going to be sold another “green is good” line no matter the cost or reliability.

    Personally I think this is another waste of taxpayers dollars; Hello Solyndra.

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