HOLLAND – The historic DeZwaan windmill at Windmill Island Gardens will not be getting a high-tech neighbor.
The Holland Board of Public Works on Monday decided not to construct a wind turbine at the downtown attraction, after an analysis of data collected over a year’s time found wind speeds were simply too low to make the project cost effective.
It’s the second time in three months the BPW has pulled the plug on a proposed wind energy project because wind speeds were found inadequate. In January, the utility withdrew from the proposed Stone Mountain wind farm project in the Upper Peninsula’s Chippewa County.
“You don’t want to put up (a wind turbine) based on hope. You want to base it on fact,” said Mike Radakovitz, an engineering planning manager for BPW who has been working on wind energy projects.
Alternate Energy Solutions Inc., which the utility hired to do an analysis of wind speeds at both sites, found average speeds at the Windmill Island site were even lower than at the Stone Mountain site, which was about 12 mph. AES collected information on wind speed, directions and other weather details from December 2008 to December 2009.
The study found the cost of generating power from the proposed wind farm would have been 11 cents per kilowatt hour, roughly twice the cost of power generated from coal.
Utility officials added that the island’s terrain and vegetation could have affected wind speeds and turbulence on the island, which could have added to the cost of building a turbine.
BPW General Manager Loren Howard says the city-owned utility remains committed to looking at options for generating renewable energy, including wind. Discussions are continuing on a possible wind project south of the city.
“We just continue to look for wind projects that make sense,” Howard said.
In addition to the wind projects, the utility is purchasing power from renewable waste-to-energy projects in the Lansing area and in Berrien County.
It also is considering expansion of its coal-fired James DeYoung power plant in the wake of a recent report by the consulting firm Black and Veatch that says the utility will need additional baseload power by 2016.
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