Plans were announced on Wednesday for a network of wind measuring systems in Massachusetts, to help improve forecasting for wind farms in the state. were announced on Wednesday,
The network will gather real-time, standardized data on wind speeds at hub-height, to be used in wind forecasting.
It is to be established by a partnership between Massachusetts companies Second Wind and WindPole Ventures, along with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).
It will initially operate as a pilot in southeastern Massachusetts, taking the form of seven to 10 sites in which wind data will be collected on the ground using Second Wind’s Triton Sonic Wind Profiler technology, or by tower-based collection systems provided by WindPole.
Steve Kropper, CEO of WindPole Ventures. “Massachusetts is laying the groundwork for value added jobs in wind information services. WindPole believes that information on wind is more profitable than wind power and we are committed to providing hub height, bankable data that will accelerate the wind power sector nationally.”
The plans for the wind measuring network were announced as the state’s Energy Secretary, Ian Bowles, visited Second Wind’s new manufacturing facility in Newton.
Secretary Bowles, who chairs the MassCEC board, said of the new manufacturing facility: “This strategic investment in the Commonwealth’s wind information infrastructure will help make wind power generation more efficient and cost-effective, and help us further Governor Patrick’s goals of installing 2,000 MW of wind energy by 2020.”
Second Wind’s new manufacturing facility in Newton will add 115 jobs by 2014, producing the company’s Triton Sonic Wind Profiler. The technology uses sound waves to measure wind speeds in a similar process to radar.
The Somerville-based company developed the Triton partly thanks to a $500,000 loan it received from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust back in 2008.
Larry Letteney, CEO of Second Wind, said: “Despite the economic downturn, wind energy is experiencing global growth. We are especially gratified that our technology, which has been encouraged by our state government, can now play such a vital role in making this vision a reality.”
Arlington-based WindPole Ventures already has 12,000 hub-height towers in 39 states around the US, providing wind data for US wind developers and regional grid operators.
The company raised its first round of capital in December 2008 with the support of MassCEC.
Mr Kropper said: “In the 1980s, government support and private investment made the Commonwealth a powerhouse in the telecommunications and data sectors and later Internet and Web services. Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, I believe the Commonwealth is taking the same steps that will lead to a concentration of jobs in the wind power sector.”
Massachusetts has seen its wind generating capacity rising tenfold since 2007, from 3.1MW to an expected 30MW by the end of the year.
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