Thursday, October 6, 2011

THIS is what happens when community rallies to do big things.

It's a huge deal!

It's a huge deal for renewable energy and wind power. It's a HUGE deal for the study and health of birds and bats over the Great Lakes. Its a HHHUGE deal for Great Lakes researchers and the ecological health of the Great Lakes.

And it's a huge deal for West Michigan and Muskegon and Grand Valley State Universtiy.


THIS is what happens when a region and a community rallies to do and reach for BIGGER things.


Today in Muskegon, Michigan, researches held a dedication ceremony for the FIRST EVER advanced research buoy in North America to be put into the water at all, ever, and it was launched right here at the Muskegon based, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

This thing is going to monitor weather patters, wind speeds, bird migration, water temperatures and currents, water chemistry. This thing is the most advanced floating laboratory ever put in the water in the United States and it's going into my beloved lake.

Sure, sure...there are currently three advanced offshore wind research buoys. But two of them are currently languishing on the shore, waiting for the funding and go-ahead to actually be launched.

The launch of the buoy in the Great Lakes is the first introduction of this technology anywhere in North America, said Arn Boezaart, director of the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. “The research buoy represents an amazing new capacity for wind research in the Great Lakes," he said. "It includes the most advanced wind measurement technology available."

Following a week of tests on Muskegon Lake, the buoy will move four miles offshore on Lake Michigan for a month-long trial.

Real-time data will be transmitted from the platform to researchers at Grand Valley, U-M and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory of Michigan State University. The research will provide information to support possible future development of offshore wind energy technology in the Great Lakes. MNFI research will focus on bird and bat flight patterns and migration studies.

The primary objective of the Lake Michigan offshore wind assessment is to gain a better understanding of the potential of offshore wind energy, as well as other physical, biological and environmental conditions on the Great Lakes. The research will provide information for the future development of offshore wind energy technology. In June 2010, the project secured $3.3 million in grants and research funds, including a $1.33 million energy efficiency grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The world is inexorably moving in the direction of renewable energy.

It cannot be stopped.

We still do big things in America. We still reach for a better world. And there are still parts of America where people rally together to move forward. This buoy is a huge joint effort from many groups and people from all political ideologies, industries, non profit organizations, and scientific disciplines.

We WANT to be people of vision.

We WANT to dream big dreams.

We WANT to lead the way in renewable energy and a future sector of green manufacturing, offshore wind power.

And we're doing it right here in Muskegon, Michigan.

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