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NASA wind farm still blowing in wind

Andy Ouriel • Sep 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Administrators first introduced the concept in 2010. Per federal laws, the space agency needs to seek out alternative, energyefficient methods of power production.

Wind turbines of up to 500 feet high would satisfy this quota.

NASA’s wind farm project manager Bryan Coates answered the Register’s questions about the proposal:

Q: Will the wind farm happen?

BC: At this time, there is no identified developer for the proposed wind farm project at the NASA Plum Brook Station. This past spring, NASA issued a request for information to determine the interest of developers and received 10 responses, all favorable.

Q: What obstacles do you foresee possibly occurring before the project moves forward?

BC: Because of the type of project being proposed, NASA is required to follow procedures specified by the National Environmental Policy Act. To meet (its) requirements, NASA, in consultation with the public and other stakeholders, will have to prepare a detailed statement known as an environmental impact statement.

Development of the proposed wind farm would only go forward if the results of several studies, currently underway, are favorable and completion of an environmental impact statement is accomplished. The studies examine environmental as well as economic considerations. If results of the (statement) are favorable and NASA decides to continue pursuing the proposed wind farm project, a request for proposal will be issued.

Q: When could the wind turbines be installed?

BC: Because NASA has not yet completed the environmental impact statement and a developer has not been identified, we do not have a start date for the project.

Q: How much would this cost?

BC: There will be no cost to the taxpayer. Once a developer is identified, the developer will be responsible for the costs associated with the development and maintenance of the wind farm. The developer will lease the land required for the wind farm project from NASA.

Q: What benefits would the wind farm provide to NASA?

BC: NASA would generate clean renewable energy and would set an example of leadership in environmental and facility stewardship. Also ... federal agencies must increase the amount of electric power generated from renewable sources.

As of this year, NASA as a whole must generate 7.5 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The available land at (the) Plum Brook Station offers a unique opportunity for NASA Glenn (in Cleveland) to meet the center’s goal and support the agency in helping meet its future renewable energy goals.

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