Chrysler may be slow to the party in introducing production hybrids and electric vehicles, but that doesn't mean they haven't been working on cleaner energy. The company has been cooperating with university researchers on growing biofuel feed stocks on brownfield sites, for example. They have also been growing potential biofuel crops at their Chelsea, MI proving ground as an alternative to grass. The company's latest effort is a wind power project, also at the Chelsea track.
The first stage of the project will take place over the next year and a half at Chelsea with the construction of a 264ft tall test tower. The tower will be used to collect meteorological data that will be analyzed in conjunction with the University of Michigan, North Coast Wind and Power and Washtenaw county. Most wind power projects are built near coastal areas or large flat regions in order capture the most undisturbed winds. This project will look at the viability of wind power at higher altitudes. If the data proves favorable, Chrysler will consider construction of wind turbines on the property while the county will look at adding more capacity in the surrounding area. The Chrysler press release is after the jump.



PRESS RELEASE:

Chrysler and Washtenaw County Collaborate to Test Winds for Clean Energy Production
  • Washtenaw County energy initiative to study winds' potential for clean energy
  • 6-Story (264-foot) meteorological test tower sited at Chrysler Chelsea
Proving Grounds
  • 12- to 18-month test will determine future of wind energy in Western Washtenaw County
  • University of Michigan atmospheric scientists lend expertise to the project
CHELSEA, Mich., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The winds in western Washtenaw County will be tested for clean energy production over the next year, beginning with construction of a 26-story meteorological tower at Chrysler LLC's Chelsea Proving Grounds this week.

Over the next 12-18 months, energy experts from the county, the University of Michigan and the consulting firm, North Coast Wind and Power, will monitor high-level winds at the site to determine if they are suitable for generating electricity.

A study by Washtenaw County found that the area around Chrysler's Proving Grounds has the greatest potential for developing wind energy in the county.

"I think that today it's incumbent on the Board of Commissioners, and really on any political body, to take the issues of environmental change and economic impact very seriously. This testing will give us the necessary information to help us look forward with ideas and hope for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels in the future," said Board Chair Jeff Irwin.

"Chrysler is committed to reducing our impact on the environment, both through conservation and use of alternative, clean energy," said Deborah Morrissett, Vice President -- Regulatory Affairs at Chrysler. "This project is another opportunity for us to be part of a clean energy future."

While much of the potential wind power in the State is along the coasts, state-wide wind models show that significantly high wind speeds can be expected at the elevations to be tested by the tower. However, no actual measurements have been taken to confirm the predictions of the wind models, said Joshua Long, Energy Coordinator for the County Department of Planning and Environment.

"Once we collect the necessary data, our consultants will produce an investment grade report which will detail exactly what kinds of wind installations are economically feasible based on how much wind there is at various heights," Long said.

The study of Washtenaw County wind energy potential, along with other related documents, is available at www.ewashtenaw.org/wind .

If the study yields favorable results, Chrysler will investigate the potential to construct turbines on its Proving Grounds property. Additionally, the County would explore its options to further advance wind power in the area near the proving grounds.

"We are pleased to provide the location for the first test of wind energy potential in this region of the county," said Jeffrey Zyburt, Director of Chrysler's Proving Grounds.

"For us, this is really a community project, because we know there are other locations in the neighborhood that may also benefit from this study. This is an exciting project."

Source: Chrysler LLC
http://www.chrysler.com/
http://www.ewashtenaw.org/wind

[Source: Chrysler]


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