December 13, 2011

Holland Board of Public Works puts wind turbine project on hold until 2013

By ANNETTE MANWELL, The Holland Sentinel, 12 December 2011

Holland – It likely would be 2013 before the Holland Board of Public Works used energy generated by wind, officials said Monday.

The BPW now has collected one year’s worth of data from a wind study being conducted in Allegan County.

The project is a little behind schedule, BPW Business Services Director Dan Nally said.

Another $10,000, 100-day extension was necessary on the lease for the staff to work with a developer on a recommendation, Nally said.

The Holland City Council also would have to approve the extension approved by the BPW Board of Directors.

The lease, with the first 100-day extension, expired Sunday.

The extension would give BPW staff until March 20 to prepare a viable recommendation for the board.
The BPW hasn’t been able to nail down a developer, Nally said, because most are trying to finish projects before the end of the year.

“The clock is ticking,” Board President Tim Hemingway said. “The community is looking for a solution.”
Without a developer on board, it most likely would be 2013 before wind turbines could be built, said Zachary Bossenbroek, president of development at SWMI Wind Energy Development LLC, a company working the BPW on the project.

Once a developer is on board, there will be an issue of transformers, Bossenbroek said.

A lot of wind power is expected to go on line next year, he said, that also will push the BPW’s project into 2013.

“We believe the project still has merit,” Nally said, adding that a full year’s worth of data was necessary to attract a developer.

Preliminary indications suggest the Allegan County sites are commercially viable, Nally said in a memo to the board.

The wind at the site is best at 1 a.m., Nally said.

Unfortunately, that time is not a high consumption time.

The BPW might have to look into energy storage so the energy from 1 a.m. could be saved and used at peak times, he said.

If energy was produced at the site but not used by the BPW, it could be sold, but most likely would be sold at a loss, Operations Director Dave Koster said.

Using wind as energy would come at a cost. The study has so far cost $484,000, and was budgeted at $575,000.

A study is being done to see how much it would cost to connect a wind farm in Allegan County to the BPW, about five to six miles.

Preliminary numbers are suggesting about $12 million, Nally said.

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