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Wind farm company looks to install weather tower on Block Island

Deepwater Wind, moving forward with its $1.5-billion proposal for a wind farm off Rhode Island, is seeking permission to erect a 180-foot-tall meteorological tower on Block Island to collect weather data. The New Jersey company has asked the New Shoreham Town Council to approve the temporary tower that would be put up near the entrance to the Great Salt Pond, on the west side of the island. The tower would be the first significant physical sign of the company's two-part plan.

Deepwater Wind, moving forward with its $1.5-billion proposal for a wind farm off Rhode Island, is seeking permission to erect a 180-foot-tall meteorological tower on Block Island to collect weather data.

The New Jersey company has asked the New Shoreham Town Council to approve the temporary tower that would be put up near the entrance to the Great Salt Pond, on the west side of the island. The tower would be the first significant physical sign of the company's two-part plan to install as many as 8 wind turbines within three miles of Block Island by 2012 and 100 turbines in federal waters off the coast of Rhode Island several years later.

The steel tower, about 10 to 14 inches in diameter, would stand for one to two years so Deepwater could collect data on wind direction, speed and frequency - information critical to determining sites for the projects and securing financing to build them.

"We have to complete a very exhaustive study to determine where to locate these wind turbines," said Clint Plummer, Deepwater's vice president for development.

To collect accurate information, the company's measuring equipment must be close to the projected height of the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Deepwater Wind, moving forward with its $1.5-billion proposal for a wind farm off Rhode Island, is seeking permission to erect a 180-foot-tall meteorological tower on Block Island to collect weather data.

The New Jersey company has asked the New Shoreham Town Council to approve the temporary tower that would be put up near the entrance to the Great Salt Pond, on the west side of the island. The tower would be the first significant physical sign of the company's two-part plan to install as many as 8 wind turbines within three miles of Block Island by 2012 and 100 turbines in federal waters off the coast of Rhode Island several years later.

The steel tower, about 10 to 14 inches in diameter, would stand for one to two years so Deepwater could collect data on wind direction, speed and frequency - information critical to determining sites for the projects and securing financing to build them.

"We have to complete a very exhaustive study to determine where to locate these wind turbines," said Clint Plummer, Deepwater's vice president for development.

To collect accurate information, the company's measuring equipment must be close to the projected height of the offshore turbines. The hub of each turbine - the point at which its three blades meet - would be 240 feet above sea level. The proposed height of the meteorological tower, said Plummer, is "the bare minimum to collect usable data."

The tower must also be on the coast and away from any hills or cliffs so as to mimic the conditions of a turbine out at sea.

In its application submitted to the town Feb. 11, Deepwater proposed putting up the tower near the North Light. But the land at the very tip of the peninsula is owned by the Coast Guard. Directly south, the land is owned by the town, but it is protected by a conservation easement. Plummer said it could be a lengthy permitting process to put the tower up in either location.

So Deepwater and consultants at AWS Truewind, of Albany, N.Y., looked at sites on the west side of the island and then revised the plan.

Erecting the tower near the Coast Guard Station at the entrance to Great Salt Pond would require permission only from the Town Council and the state Coastal Resources Management Council. Plummer expects both processes to be relatively quick. The Town Council was to take up the matter at its meeting last night.

Plummer acknowledged that there has been some concern about the location of the meteorological tower on the island. He said Deepwater would listen to other suggestions for siting the tower.

"With regard to all the monitoring equipment, it's temporary in nature," he said. "We understand the community's interest in this. We want the community to feel that we've been open and transparent."

It could take 10 to 14 weeks to erect the tower once the approvals are granted. Deepwater has yet to order the wind-measuring equipment. Despite a downturn in the renewable energy industry because of the economic recession, there is still a waiting period on the devices Deepwater needs.

The company has already installed other equipment to aid in its studies. A radar unit was installed last Thursday on the Southeast Light to monitor bird migration routes, and the company is preparing to put a bat monitoring system on a communication tower owned by the town.


Source: http://www.projo.com/busine...

MAR 3 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19328-wind-farm-company-looks-to-install-weather-tower-on-block-island
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