Posts Tagged ‘alternative energy’

I’m All for Alternative Energy, But Will it Impact My Airport?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

by Steve Barrett

HMMH provides answers in ACRP Report.

Growing demand for electricity and the transition to new technologies is pushing energy projects in new geographical areas.  Proposals for wind farms and solar plants are getting the attention of  aviation professionals who see projects proposed near their airports and are concerned that the projects will impact pilot safety and airport operations.  To gather more information on the pertinent issues, the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) funded a Synthesis Report, and I was selected as the Principal Investigator for the study.  The Report, Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation, was released by the ACRP on October 15.

The study looks into the potential impacts of wind farms, solar panels and concentrated solar power plants, and traditional natural gas plants on airports and aviation.  Types of impacts evaluated include solar glare, radar interference, thermal plumes from emission stacks, and penetration of structures into airspace.  The report reviews specific project proposals including the proposed Shepherd Flats Wind Farm in Oregon’s Columbia River Valley and the Blythe Concentrated Solar Plant in the desert of Southeastern California. 

The Synthesis Report, combined with the Solar Guide prepared by HMMH and released by the FAA in November 2010, provides a substantial amount of information on the subject of alternative energy and airports.  ACRP has announced a follow-up Project to develop a Guidebook for energy and aviation professionals that will contain more detailed information including new analyses of specific projects.  HMMH, as a leader in the field of alternative energy and airports, will continue to track these developments closely.

Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation

Muskeget Tidal Energy Update

Monday, August 29th, 2011

by Steve Barrett

Last week, there was some exciting activity in the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.  And I am not talking about the frogmen who were securing the islands in advance of the President’s vacation.  The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy were working together to deploy a 30 foot long barge equipped with a marine tidal energy converter to test the potential for tidal current energy in Muskeget Channel. 

The tidal turbine was supplied by Free Flow Power, a Massachusetts-based company, which has focused on extracting energy out of the Mississippi River and is now developing its marine energy capabilities.  Another Massachusetts start-up, battery maker FastCAP, was also a participant, using its advanced storage technology to store the energy produced by the Free Flow Turbine.  Concurrent with the technology testing, UMASS researchers collected environmental data including current measurements upstream and downstream of the turbine, zooplankton sampling to record physical impacts on biota, and hydrophone recordings of the background noise and sound signature of the Free Flow Turbine.  HMMH and UMASS will use the data to evaluate the potential for a combined research and development facility and a commercial scale tidal energy project to supply electricity to the Town of Edgartown. 

HMMH, serving as the Project Manager for Edgartown, continues to work with UMASS and other project partners on projects funded by the Department of Energy and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to move the project through the federal and state permitting process.  Edgartown hopes to deploy the first permanent tidal turbine in the second half of 2013. 

Testing was conducted for five consecutive days with the barge towed to Edgartown Harbor each night to protect it from the unpredictable maritime weather.  Fortunately, the weather cooperated for the period of deployment and all tests were completed successfully.  While the project team includes the experience of marine engineers, biologists, and maritime technicians, weather is one thing no one can control.  All the project participants were happy to have the barge safely in port and find themselves busy crunching numbers in the safety of their offices while Hurricane Irene was passing over Muskeget.

Free Flow Turbine