The towering wind turbine at the University of Delaware’s Lewes campus will be the topic at a community meeting tonight designed to answer questions from the community about the structure and the university’s plans.
Officials at the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment have scheduled a question-and-answer session to discuss the single turbine. It will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in Room 104 of the Cannon Lab at the Lewes campus, 700 Pilottown Road.
The 2 megawatt, $5 million turbine, constructed by Gamesa USA, is expected to provide 5.52 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, powering the entire campus, as well as providing information for researchers. The tower is 256 feet tall, and visible from surrounding neighborhoods.
The university has no plans for additional land-based turbines, said Ronald Ohrel, director of marine public education at UD. Ohrel said the university has received questions about the turbine, but no complaints.
University officials talked last year about putting up one or two offshore turbines in 2012, but Ohrel said there have only been internal meetings on that topic in recent months.
At the June commissioning of the land-based turbine, UD and the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced they’d work over the next five years to develop a shallow-water research zone to test emerging offshore wind technologies.
Panelists for tonight’s session will include Nancy Targett, dean of UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment; Jeremy Firestone, an associate professor of marine policy; and David Strong, senior project manager for Sustainable Energy Developments Inc.
Targett will be available again on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the same place for residents who cannot make tonight’s meeting.
In an e-mail, one part-time Lewes resident, Valarie Elliott, cited studies that contend wind turbines should not be built near residential areas because they create audible noise pollution and possible health problems from inaudible sounds.
In an interview late last month, Ohrel said project workers have done a great deal of research, and were confident the turbine would produce no major effects on the surrounding population.
“We’ve concluded this single turbine is not going to produce any noise that exceeds Delaware state standards,” Ohrel said.
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