A ceremony is planned Friday for the deployment of a research buoy that will be used for a Lake Michigan offshore wind assessment study conducted by Grand Valley State University (GVSU), the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
The WindSentinel buoy, which will be operational for 10 years, was constructed by AXYS Technologies and comes equipped with a Vindicator laser wind sensor manufactured by Catch the Wind Inc. The buoy is an eight-ton, 20-foot by 10-foot boat-shaped structure that can measure wind characteristics up to 150 meters above the water using wind sensor technology.
Following a week of tests on Muskegon Lake, the buoy will move four miles offshore on Lake Michigan for a month-long trial. Real-time data will be transmitted from the platform to researchers at Grand Valley, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory of Michigan State University (MNFI).
The research is expected to provide information to support the possible future development of offshore wind energy technology in the Great Lakes. MNFI research will focus on bird and bat flight patterns and migration studies.
Funding partners of the project include the U.S. Department of Energy, the Michigan Public Service Commission, We Energies, the University of Michigan and the Sierra Club.