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West Des Moines company measuring wind potential near Hawkeye  

Anyone who has driven out or lives in the plains west of Hawkeye knows how powerful the wind can be there. A West Des Moines company is looking to see if the winds are sustainable enough to harvest that wind for energy.

Renewable Power Markets Access, Inc. (RPMA), formerly named Midwest Renewable Energy has installed a a meteorological tower or “met” tower on Warren and Sandra Jencks’ property about a mile and a half west of town along 210th Street, formerly the Jim & Marsha Hyman residence.

According to Felix Friedman of RPM Access, Inc. the tower is essentially an oversized flagpole with guide wires tied to anchors in the ground to hold it in place. The met tower is used to measure wind speed and direction. It is about 10 inches in diameter and 199 feet tall.

“We were contacted by RPM. They wanted to put up an experimental tower to check wind speeds in area,” said Sandra Jencks. “It has to be up for a year to record the wind to know if there’s a possibility of using the wind for energy. I don’t want to speculate yet if there’s really a possibility.”

Friedman said they are expecting to see positive results. “Depending on the wind turbine size, the wind speed average should be at least 16 mph. At this site we are expecting average wind speed between 16 and 17 mph.”

The company chose the location for the tower for a number of reasons.

“A promising combination of potentially good winds, good access to the power grid, and access to wholesale power markets led us to this location,” said Friedman.

“As planting season ends, we will start contacting landowners in the area near the tower to introduce ourselves, explain the potential project and gauge interest of landowners and neighbors in participating in the project.

“Based on the current available transmission capacity, the Bethel wind farm would be a small wind energy facility, which at full capacity could generate approximately 30 Megawatts.”

RPMA successfully developed three large projects that are now in operation near Joice and Kensett in north central Iowa. They are the Top of Iowa Wind Farm and the Top of Iowa II and III Wind Farms.

RPMA also initiated the development of several other wind projects including the Winnebago Wind Farm now under construction, the Barton Wind Farm slated for construction later in 2008 or in 2009, and other projects in earlier stages of development.

“We are measuring other locations in the area now but we may measure wind at other sites in the area where we find the same promising combination of factors,” said Friedman.

By: Meghan Powers, News writer

zwire.com

28 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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