I have received many inquiries for an update on the proposal for wind energy on Greenbury Point on the north shore at the mouth of the Severn River. I have good news on how the project is progressing, but I should start at the beginning for those not familiar with the idea.
The idea, which we put forth in 2007, is to put a few turbines where the radio towers were. The location is ideal for such a project for the following reasons:
While the biggest hurdle for going forward with any wind energy project is the expense and feasibility of putting a power grid in place, the radio towers have conveniently left a grid in place on Greenbury Point that would require a minimal upgrade.
There are few other places in the state that generate enough wind for such a project.
New technology generates the same level of noise as one refrigerator per turbine and the blades move slower while generating more power, making them safe for local and migratory birds.
Greenbury Point is a Naval Facility Command Post and the Navy has set a goal of getting to 25 percent renewable energy at each of their posts. They were therefore very pleased to see this idea. The idea is that they would lease the towers and land. There are many ways they could structure such an agreement that would be beneficial to the Navy and to the community at large.
Proposed turbines would sit the same height or slightly higher (when the blades are pointing up) than the three presently existing radio towers. These were the shortest of the original radio towers, being only half the height of the many others.
Just over one year ago, the Navy began the required one year of measuring wind at Greenbury Point by installing a MET tower. The year-long results were all right, but a bit disappointing until we noted it was a down year for wind. According to AWS Truepower LLC, a company that measures wind trends, “a persistent ridge of high pressure over the central and eastern United States brought record temperatures and substantial deviations (30 year lows) from normal wind speeds.” They reported that wind speeds were as much as 15 percent lower than average in the second quarter of 2012 alone. We also showed how the measuring of wind at Thomas Point Light House showed a large drop this past year from its 23 year average of 11.5 kts (13.3 mph). All this shows that a third quarter 2011 to third quarter 2012 wind measurement was a skewed measurement.
Furthermore, the point must be made that even with the wind study results, Greenbury Point has more than enough wind because new technology is generating more power with less wind. For instance VISTAS V126-3.oMW turbine is designed to yield maximum power production on even low wind sights. Also, Gamesa Technology Group has produced their G97-2.0 MW Class IIIA turbine that can bring power into locations General Electric and other companies are following suit in their production of turbines.
And just to prove the Navy is serious, just a few days before Christmas, engineers from EON Global were there assaying the land for: 1) possible positions of towers, 2) to determine a perimeter for the ideal location and 3) measuring the wind ratio against data to see how much power can be generated.
All this bodes well for the Greenbury project, which will still take time to continue the Navy’s very methodical process that includes continuing the NEPA environmental study to address all environmental and historical concerns. They have been very aware of the historical importance of the the area including the New Providence settlement, Greenbury Fort and the first Navy flight school. If anything is uncovered, it is very easy to build a tower several feet away. I thank the Navy for their diligent work.
Lastly, The Army Corps of Engineers has upgraded the shoreline around the point and the facility has found an environmentally friendly way to control the vegetation without mowing it down … goats. Yes, Bill the Goat will be proud as the Greenbury Point facility will enlist a small herd of goats that feed off the natural plant life. They will join the deer, fox and ground quail that have found the point to be a good home.
The lower eastern part of the Chesapeake Bay is another location where wind energy will do well. My Energy Net Metering For Municipalities bill in 2010 has allowed for Chrisfield to apply energy credits toward creating renewables and they are thus moving forward with their energy park there.
It is my hope that the Greenbury Point project will likewise become a reality to supplement our energy needs.
The writer is a state delegate.
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