University of Michigan, city of Ann Arbor to partner on wind turbine project
The university and city are finalizing the details of an agreement in which U-M would help fund Ann Arbor’s proposed wind turbine project, officials told AnnArbor.com. Ann Arbor received a $951,500 grant in March to offset its energy needs by erecting a wind turbine within the city limits or nearby.
“They want a platform that is local and that could be a practical research tool,” Ann Arbor City Administrator Roger Fraser said of U-M researchers.
General Electric has also expressed interest in joining the partnership, Â Fraser said. GE recently announced that it would invest $100 million in a Van Buren Township research facility where engineers will research a variety of technologies, including wind turbines.
David Munson, dean of U-M’s College of Engineering, said U-M has a “strong interest” in partnering with Ann Arbor on the turbine project.
Fraser said the city had initially planned to place a wind turbine near the water treatment plant on the city’s northwest side.
But “it turns out that’s not practical,” he said, partly because of land accessibility issues.
City officials have yet to choose a site, select a turbine supplier or settle on a specific size for the turbine. If the city opts to build the turbine in a different municipality, city officials would have to coordinate with their municipal partner to enact a wind generator ordinance.
The proposed partnership comes three years after the Ann Arbor City Council approved energy goals aimed at generating 30 percent of the city government’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2010. The city also hopes to reduce carbon emissions to 20 percent below 2000 levels by 2015.
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