Your Green Life: "Wind Power on Madeline Island"

By KBJR News 1

Your Green Life: "Wind Power on Madeline Island"

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

Strong winds brings Lake Effect snow to the Shores of Lake Superior.

A committee with an environmental mission is hoping that these strong winds... will bring alternative energy to Madeline Island as meteorologist Shannon Murphy explains in, "Your Green Life."

Wind may not make the best company during the ferry ride over to Madeline Island.

But this island's Alternative Energy Committee is hoping they can harness that wind for energy.

But before expensive wind turbines can be installed, there's a lot of work to be done.

"If we are going to have a major program, we have to worry about it being successful 20 years from now as well as today." stated Burke Henry, member of the Alternative Energy Committe on Madeline Island.

Wind data is needed to start the research, and Madison–based "7th Generation Energy" is helping the process.

"We do a lot of things related to wind site assessment including installing the met tower here and we also install wind turbines and solar panel systems," said Lincoln Tice of 7th Generation Energy.

The wind tower was assembled while still on the ground, and the appliances were attached.

This device here is called an anemometer.

It is a weather instrument that measures wind speed.

There will be six of these attached to three different spots on the pole to determine whether or not the wind speed will be strong enough to make this a success.

Once the tower's instruments were tested and approved, it was raised to its vertical position at Big Bay State Park, and the DNR is glad they're a part of it.

"We are all obviously looking for ways to lessen the amount of an impact we have, reduce our carbon footprint, look into alternative energy projects such as this one, to reduce the amount of fuel and oil that we use," said Ben Bergey, Copper Falls Park Superintendent.

If results determine that there are adequate wind speeds on Madeline Island, home–owners could think about investing in personal wind turbines, and will also discuss the option private investment in a wind farm on site.

On Madeline Island, I'm meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.

If a wind farm is in the future for Madeline Island, they still would NOT disconnect from the electric power grid on the main land because winds are not likely to be strong enough in the summer months to provide enough power for the entire island.