Wind data shows promise

14 years ago

Wind data shows promise

By Scott Mitchell Johnson

Staff Writer

PRESQUE ISLE – After reviewing nine months’ of wind data, engineering officials believe it would make sense to install a commercial scale turbine at Presque Isle Middle School.

Andrew Perkins of SGC Engineering, LLC in Orono, who serves as the SAD 1 wind power project consultant, told directors at the Nov. 17 meeting that wind speeds are in the range of supporting the district’s wind power initiative.

“The average 45-meter wind speed for the entire monitoring period is 4.62 meters per second, which relates to about 11 mph,” said Perkins, noting that the average 35-meter wind speed for the monitoring period is 4.32 meters per second. “That gives us a sense at 45 meters that we’ve got a viable project to continue our efforts there.”

The data that’s been reviewed was collected from Feb. 1-Oct. 31, 2010.

A 112-foot tall meteorological or met tower was installed at PIMS last year. The tower, which collects data at various heights to ensure suitable wind speeds, holds four anemometers – two at 45 meters and two at 35 meters. Wind directions are monitored at 45 meters and 35 meters via two wind direction vanes.

“The results show that average wind speeds at 45 meters and 35 meters are above the minimum standard for commercial wind turbine operation of around 4.0 meters per second,” Perkins said, noting that continued monitoring is required to confirm this belief.

Perkins told directors that data shows that most of the wind blows from the north and northwest.

Though much of the 49-page report is filled with analytical statistics, graphs and charts, Perkins and Larry Fox, wind power project coordinator for SAD 1, are optimistic about the future of the project.

“Our instruments are working very well and we’ll continue to review data from now through February,” said Fox. “With one full year of data to review, I think the validity of the project will become much higher. At that time we’ll look to see whether we should make further decisions involving the project.”

SAD 1 is the first school system in Maine to pursue wind power as an energy source in its public schools.