A 60-meter high meteorology tower to measure wind levels was erected this week at a farm near Fairview.
Airborne Wind Development, Boise, Idaho, will keep track of the readings to see if the company wants to put turbines at the site in the future. The tower is on property owned by the Elizabeth Buxbaum estate along with Scott and Anita Buxbaum.
If the wind is strong enough, Bob Buxbaum, Fairview, says the turbines would be 2.1 megawatts and 240 feet high.
Cliff Broadbent of Builders Construction Services, Walla, Walla, Wash., which put up the tower, believes the wind rate has to average nine miles per hour.
An Internet pack logger on the tower measures the wind velocity. It also tells the temperature and the air density. A sample is taken each second. The information is kept on a data card, similar to one for a digital camera.
Once a day, the information is automatically transmitted to Airborne Wind Development.
“They will have a good study after a year’s time,” Broadbent said. If a very strong wind is evident, the company may decide to proceed in nine months.
Buxbaum said officials from Airborne Wind Development are expected to view the site in about six weeks. The company learned about Fairview because one of Buxbaum’s niece’s sons knew somebody at Airborne.
“It’s the new green energy that people are talking about,” Buxbaum said. “It’s going to be very interesting if it all comes about.”
Broadbent says each turbine costs about $2.2 million so picking the right location for a wind farm is vital.
“It’s not so much a real windy spot, but if it’s close to a power line or big city,” Broadbent said, noting the Fairview site is fairly close, three miles, to a power line. “You only can build so many lines to get to a power line before losing your profit.”
Preliminary studies show the Buxbaum site may work well for a wind farm. Broadbent points to the fact that the area has rolling hills and few trees.
“There are a lot of generic maps that measure winds; this area is pretty high up on those,” Broadbent said.
Bill Vander Weele, Sidney Herald – http://www.sidneyherald.com/articles/2009/09/25/news/doc4abd41fd279e3982083122.txt