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Info card stolen from test wind tower in Auburn

AUBURN – A thief who stole a data card and two D batteries has stolen two months’ data from the 60-foot test wind tower put up on Granger Cliffs on Prospect Hill behind The Home Depot parking lot.

The test tower was erected by Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. of Ontario, N.Y., on July 28. The meteorological tower has six anemometers at staggered heights to measure wind speed and two wind vanes to determine direction. Data was collected and stored on an SD card, which was to be replaced every few months, until a year’s worth of data could be collected to determine if a wind turbine at the site would be feasible.

Adam R. Burney, assistant director of development and inspectional services, told selectmen last night that he was contacted by SED and asked to retrieve the data card from the test tower’s collector last month. The last collection had been done by SED on Oct. 3.

When Mr. Burney walked the quarter mile up the dirt road to the test tower site on Nov. 28, he was surprised to see that someone had taken the data card and batteries.

“We may have data for October and November on the collector. SED will have to take it back to New York to see if they can retrieve anything,” Mr. Burney said.

If the data is lost, he said area data might be used to extrapolate results, or the test term could be extended next year to make up for the lost information.

He said the card had been in a small, waterproof, plastic box inside a metal box. Neither was locked.

“If someone has the card and is willing to return it, I will accept it, with no questions asked. It is the data we need. Just drop the card in the mail to me at Town Hall.”