Two sites chosen to measure wind potential – City Hall not one of them

The city will install wind-measuring instruments at both Phoenix School and Robron Park to determine the potential for wind generated energy

The city will install wind-measuring instruments at both Phoenix School and Robron Park to determine the potential for wind generated energy.

Council voted Tuesday night to put up anemometers at the two sites to collect wind data as the next step in a wind turbine feasibility assessment.

“Phoenix School is the top site for wind potential, with Robron Park following as a second potential option,” said Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s sustainability manager. “Both sites are relatively clear of trees and have good wind profiles. According to Wind Atlas the average annual mean wind speed is 3.43 metres per second at Robron and 4.29 m/s at Phoenix at a height of 10 metres.”

By placing the instruments at two schools, there will be an opportunity for students to collect and analyze wind data and learn about renewable energy from a live demonstration project, Zirnhelt said.

The anemometers are the first phase of the project and will cost the city approximately $5,000, which will likely be funded through the city’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program Rebate.

The second part of the project will be determining where the best place for an actual, power-generating wind turbine would be.

“If the city were to proceed with installing a 50 kilowatt wind turbine, it would cost approximately $375,000,” Zirnhelt said. “The electricity could potentially be used to offset the power from one of the city’s municipal facilities and assist with moving the city toward its carbon neutral commitment under the BC Climate Action Charter.”

The turbine being considered would produce roughly 120,000 kwh per year and stand about 100 feet tall, with 30 foot blades attached. However, there are smaller turbines the city could choose to install.

The wind turbine feasibility study falls in line with the city’s Strategic Plan for 2010-2011.

“Such a project would provide the city with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in promoting renewable energy, and working toward its carbon neutral commitments under the BC Climate Action Charter,” Zirnhelt said. “The project would be an excellent educational opportunity on renewable energy for students, visitors and other community members.”

The first step of the project – installing the anemometers – will likely get underway soon as city staff hope to collect wind data between the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012.