Thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG), Michigan residents may have more wind energy options in the future. DELEG recently awarded $83,000 to Steve Harsh’s wind energy team to fund the installation of anemometers on five tall towers in Michigan. The anemometers will accurately measure wind speeds at three heights, allowing MSU to assess Michigan’s wind energy potential and encourage development of renewable wind energy.
“Wind energy is a valuable resource that we’re anxious to tap,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm in a press release. “This project will support our efforts to build a vibrant wind energy industry in Michigan, further diversifying our economy and creating good-paying jobs for Michigan workers.”
Harsh, MSU Extension specialist and principal investigator on the project, says the project is important because most publicly-available wind speed data was gathered at relatively low heights. Most commercial wind turbines are 70 to 100 meters tall, therefore Michigan needs tall tower wind speed data to accurately measure and map the state’s wind energy potential.
Harsh will use the new information to create a validated 100-meter wind power map for Michigan, allowing the state to identify and promote those areas best suited for wind power development. Data collected in other Midwest states indicates current Michigan wind speed measurements may underestimate the state’s wind energy potential.
Data will be collected in Gratiot, Delta, Antrim, Mason and Hillsdale Counties. Harsh has been collecting data from a tower in Berrien County since April 2009. Data will be posted online to make it available to the public and interested parties.
This is a great illustration of what we mean by “Greening Michigan” as one of our statewide programs in our redesign of MSUE.