Wind turbine project to test potential for wind farm

June 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

A $1.5 million wind turbine project in Yona’s Cotal region may help Guam Power Authority decide if the area has potential to host a wind farm.

But before construction begins for the single wind turbine, the power agency plans to hold outreach meetings in Yona, Santa Rita and Talofofo about the project. The power agency plans to hold the meetings next month and in August, but firm dates haven’t been set.

The pilot project, funded with a grant from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, is expected to be completed by 2015.

The wind turbine will generate 275 kilowatts of power, which meets the needs of about 25 average-size homes on Guam, the agency announced. Power generated from the single wind turbine will not go into specific homes, but will be transmitted to GPA’s power grid.

Power agency officials also hope the pilot project will allow the agency to become familiar with wind technology as it aims to reduce its 100-percent reliance on fuel oil.

“As the renewable energy industry grows on our island, GPA envisions this pilot project will demonstrate renewable viability on Guam to support the transition from oil to jobs,” said GPA General Manager Joaquin Flores.

The pilot wind turbine project will become a learning environment for GPA technicians, said agency spokesman Art Perez.

When completed, the project also opens opportunities for the power agency to work with local educational institutions in developing technical trades to support such technology on Guam and in the region, the agency stated.

Power agency representatives made a presentation on the wind turbine project yesterday to island mayors.

The project’s location, on local government property near a reforestation project, is about half a mile away from the closest houses, located along Bishop Flores and Bishop Apuron Streets in Santa Rita, Perez said.

Santa Rita Mayor Dale Alvarez said with the closest residential neighborhood at a considerable distance from the pilot project, he’s not too concerned about noise from one wind turbine. Alvarez said he’s heard of the noise of wind turbines stateside.

Many communities across the world that have wind farms require those wind farms to be between 500 and 1,000 meters away from their closest residential neighborhood, a 2011 study under the Minnesota Department of Commerce states.

In the case of the single wind turbine in Yona, the distance to the closest neighborhood is about 800 meters.

What some mayors do want to know from the power agency is whether the single wind turbine will become a field of multiple wind turbines.

The answer to that, as of now, Perez said, is “we don’t know.”

Part of the goal for the project is to study whether the area’s wind patterns support a wind farm.

The power agency plans to diversify its power supply from being completely fuel oil-powered to partly powered from the sun and wind.

A private company’s plan to build 9.3-megawatt wind farm in Dandan, near the new landfill, is part of the power agency’s longer-term renewable energy goals. The company, Pacific Green Resources, is expected to sell its power to GPA.

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