Future of proposed Muskegon County wind farm brightened by new Gamesa … – Muskegon Chronicle

May 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

gamesa.jpgA handout photo from Gamesa shows a wind farm the company developed elsewhere in the U.S.

MUSKEGON, MI – Efforts to develop a wind farm on the site of Muskegon County’s Wastewater Management System are gaining some traction, in part due to the development of a new wind turbine model.

The county in 2012 signed a lease agreement with Gamesa Energy USA to investigate the possibility of developing a potential large-scale wind farm on the 11,000-acre property in Egelston and Moorland townships.

In a report to the Muskegon County Board of Public Works May 9, Wastewater Management System director Mark Eisenbarth reported on testing of the site by Gamesa. Six months of Gamesa’s testing confirmed average wind speed “sufficient to support an economically viable project,” given the available technology and estimated power prices in Michigan.

But Gamesa indicated the site site’s capacity is higher than previously computed, due to a new technology coming on line, Eisenbarth said.

Gamesa manufactures wind turbines themselves in addition to developing wind farms. A new model of turbine, the G114, works more efficiently because of a “larger propeller, moving slower, capturing more wind energy,” Eisenbarth said.

“They had that out for display at the wind conference in Chicago last week,” he said.

Eisenbarth, Ed Garner of Muskegon Area First and a representative from at least one area business attended the trade show Windpower 2013 in Chicago, where the G114 was showcased by Gamesa.

“I think we had good representation there, for West Michigan anyway,” Eisenbarth said.

Each turbine could produce 2 to 2.5 megawatts of energy. About 50 could be located at the site, according to Eisenbarth’s report.

The design for the G114 turbine, unveiled a year ago, calls for blades that would cut in the air a larger diameter than its predecessors, 114 meters or 374 feet.

“Our customers need to make the best use of the energy potential offered by low-wind sites, and thus require a turbine that can get maximum energy with a low investment cost, ” Gamesa marketing director Juan Diego Diaz said in company statement announcing the new product.

Gamesa hopes to deliver its first G114 turbines by late 2013.

Gamesa plans to continue wind studies for another six months and later will study the effect of a wind farm on birds and bats in the area, Eisenbarth said. The earliest the wind farm could be built would be in 2015.

In its 2012 contract with the county, Gamesa was provided five years of exclusive rights to study the site and the company could have that deadline extended if it shows progress, Eisenbarth said.

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