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Integrated Assessment of Off-shore Wind. A Research Partnership between : Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center and University of Michigan Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute. Why Study Offshore Wind ? .

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Integrated Assessment of

Off-shore Wind

A Research Partnership between:

Grand Valley State University

Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center


University of Michigan

Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute


Why Study Offshore Wind ?

  • Michigan & U.S. energy needs continue to grow
  • Offshore wind is an untapped renewable resource
  • US security requires reduced dependency on fossil fuel from foreign sources
  • Environmental concerns about fossil fuel power generation and need for cleaner options
  • State and federal RPS policies will expand and require greater renewable energy portfolio
  • Nuclear energy is expensive and politically complex

The GVSU – U of M Challenge

  • Design/build/install a year-round research platform and MET tower in Lake Michigan.
  • Gather wind and related research data and develop information needed to support offshore wind technology.
  • Engage state and federal agencies in project siting, bottom land leasing, permit issuance, nautical safety and environmental regulatory process.
  • Explore new frontiers of offshore wind turbine technology, wind measurement, design, construction, grid connectivity.
  • Establish cost and logistical requirements. How can it be done in cost effective way?

What We Hope to Learn

The impact of the environment on the Research Platform and MET Tower

The impact of the Platform and Tower on the environment

How to navigate through the licensing, permitting and regulatory process to advance off-shore wind development

4. The benefits and considerations of off-shore wind development

5. The economic impact potential for the lakeshore region & W. Michigan


Key Elements of 3-Year Project

  • Match secured federal and state funding with public or private investment partner to complete required project funding
  • Design, build, equip and operate a research platform and MET tower in Lake Michigan
  • Collect and analyze data, conduct research and publish reports
  • Use project results to advance offshore wind development along eastern Lake Michigan shore

Project support - Grant Awards

  • Congressional allocation of $1.4 million to support offshore wind project in Lake Michigan (March 2009).
  • Michigan Public Service Commission award of $1.33 million to support development of offshore research project in partnership with U of M Phoenix Institute (March 2010).
  • Additional funding to be sought through RFP process to support offshore wind study and related research (April 2010).

The GVSU - U ofM Project

  • Participants and Funding To Date:
    • US DOE: $1,427,250
    • MPSC: $1,336,370
    • UM: $ 334,100
    • Private Sector: Pending RFP will solicit project partner participation and funding balance required to complete project

A Five Phase - 3 Year Project

  • Select site with project partners to locate research platform and meteorological tower
  • Federal / State permitting & bottom land leasing process - environmental studies
  • Design, construct, & install equipment in Lake Michigan
  • Conduct offshore wind and related research for three-year period
  • Engage public through education and outreach

The Research Focus

Five Primary Research Targets

Wind Data Collection & Analysis / LIDAR evaluation

Ice Accretion and impact on structures

Comprehensive year-round eco-system impact assessment: bird & bat studies, aquatic organisms

Wind Power System Design / Grid Integration

Social, Economic, Public Perception and Policy Impact Analysis


Guiding the WayWorking in Partnership with GLOW Council

  • Evaluate Federal & State permitting, leasing, siting procedures and construction process
  • Conduct comprehensive environmental studies process for offshore development including NEPA / MEPA process
  • Advance public outreach and education strategies
  • Inform, engage, and solicit feedback from Michigan citizens
  • Represent wind development interests of the state of Michigan

What Will We Learn?

  • The impacts of the environment on the Platform and Tower - can it withstand Lake Michigan?
  • The impacts of the Platform and Tower on the environment - aquatic organism, birds, recreation
  • Field trial results of the licensing,permitting and bottom land leasing process for offshore wind
  • The benefits and costs of offshore investment
  • Economic impact of offshore development

Bottom Line: An Economic Opportunity

  • Michigan’s peninsula is positioned to become an economic hub of manufacturing, construction, installation and maintenance of wind structures; and a significant source of renewable energy
  • If successful, thousands of jobs will result throughout Michigan from the manufacture of system components, metal fabrication, assembly, water transportation, construction, electrical distribution and related support services
  • This project will help guide future development

Thank you for your interest!

Wish us well and favorable winds

as we undertake this challenging journey