Saturday, May 22, 2010

Towering roughnecks

Here's our summer wind assessment crew at work. This healthy outdoor activity, which is done in support of community-owned wind projects all around the state, requires the lifting and lowering of our NRG wind assessment towers and their transport from one site to another. This requires field work and a fair amount of humping of steel tube, steel cable, and precious, expensive anemometers and computer loggers.

That, at least, is the outdoor part. Then there's the indoor part, which is the crunching of the resultant data and writing of scientific reports that tell communities whether or not the have wind enough for a community-owned turbine.

To facilitate this work I've hired a merry crew of students, who will be driving with me all around the great State o' Maine much of the summer, putting up and taking down these towers, crunching the data, writing reports, and, the Holy Grail adding the knowledge to our growing fund of public-domain wind power data in this state.

With that data we hope to calculate a new, more accurate model for wind prediction in the state, and use that model to create an undated GIS wind map. The value of this work would be millions of dollars, if we can reduce the need for expensive wind studies by creating a more definitive wind map. The one we have now, created by a commercial firm under contract to the federal government a few years ago, doesn't work very well, and in fact has been demonstrated to be unreliable on several sites where we have taken direct measurements.

No comments: