Noble Environmental Power is seeing which way the wind blows – and how hard.
The company put up the first of two meteorological towers in West Rutland last week, and project manager Brad King said the second is scheduled to go up in Hubbardton today. The towers are taking measurements as part of the Connecticut-based company’s plan to put a wind farm on the Grandpa’s Knob ridge line.
King said not to go out looking for windmills, as the towers are very tall but have very thin poles.
“They’re relatively small structures,” he said. “The diameter of the pole is 8 inches and it’s adjacent to an existing old radio tower (in West Rutland). Unless you’re looking for it, you really won’t see it.”
The West Rutland tower is off Whipple Hollow Road, King said, and the Hubbardton one will go up in the southeastern corner of town.
The Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good for the towers last month. Noble started talking publicly early last year about the idea of placing towers on the ridge, which straddles town borders in Castleton, Hubbardton, West Rutland and Pittsford.
The towers are powered by photovoltaic panels and gather data on wind speed, wind direction and temperature. Data is then transmitted by an on-site cell phone to an Internet service provider.
The company has said data-gathering could take as long as five years.
“At a minimum, six months will give a good starting point,” he said. “A year’s worth of data is ideal to give a year’s average.”
Noble has estimated a wind farm on Grandpa’s Knob could generate 50 megawatts of electricity and said it would invest up to $100 million in such a project. The company is developing wind farms around the country, especially in upstate New York.
By Gordon Dritschilo
25 January 2008
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