Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Assessment Project
Above, the AXYS WindSentinel, a cornerstone for data collection in the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Assessment Project. The buoy serves as a research platform and uses LIDAR to sample wind speeds at multiple altitudes. Following its dedication on October 7, 2011, it was deployed and is on station in Lake Michigan four miles offshore near its home port of Muskegon. The WindSentinel is only the third of its kind to be deployed anywhere and is the first that will make its wind data publicly available. For more photos, click on any of the images above.
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Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and its Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) working in partnership with; GVSU’s Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, the University of Michigan and its Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, (MMPEI) and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory of Michigan State University Extension (MNFI) have secured funding for the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Assessment Project.
The principal objective of the project is to develop a better understanding of offshore wind resources as well as other physical, biological and environmental conditions on Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes in general, as precursor activity to the future development of offshore wind energy technology.
The project received $1.4 Million in initial funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy (US-DOE) through a congressional allocation initiated by U.S. Congressman Peter Hoekstra representing Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District. Required local match funding support was obtained from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) with a $1.33 Million grant award. Additional project funding in the amount of $260,084 is being provided by the University of Michigan.
As a result of growing interest in the project by environmental organizations, wind development interests and other renewable energy interests, the project was expanded in scope. Additional project funding is being provided by We Energies, a state of Wisconsin utility in the amount of $250,000, and the Great Lakes office of the Sierra Club with a $30,000 grant contribution.
The project will deploy an extended season offshore wind assessment research buoy that will feature the use of LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) laser light pulse technology as an alternative to traditional cup anemometer wind measurement instrumentation. The project will conduct correlation studies, in part, by using near-shore MET tower locations in conjunction with the State of Michigan Tall Towers project and other shore based towers.
The GVSU buoy will be deployed in multiple locations over the life of the project, including the mid-lake plateau region of Lake Michigan. In addition to the measurement of wind, the GVSU buoy includes equipment to assess water quality, conduct acquatic studies, as well as avian (bird and bat) activity.
The project will follow-up on the work and study results of the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Council (GLOW) appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm in January of 2009. The GLOW Council and other recent Great Lakes studies have identified the need for additional research of year-round wind conditions and related environmental factors critical to future development of off-shore wind energy technology on the Great Lakes.
Identified as a rich and abundant source of alternative (wind) energy, the Great Lakes are presently being considered as a potential source for meeting a significant portion of our renewable energy needs in the Great Lakes region in the decades to come. The Offshore Wind Assessment Project hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of this significant renewable energy resource.
Page last modified May 10, 2012