What is a meteorological tower (“met tower”)?
A meteorological tower, or “met tower” is the test equipment that is used to determine whether or not a given site is suitable for the installation of a wind energy facility or wind turbine. It generally consists of a very tall pole (50 meters in the case of the one at Winter Island), anemometers and a data logger. The anemometers measure wind speed, and the data logger continuously records that data. The anemometers are mounted at various heights to gauge wind speed (and turbulence) at various elevations. The ones on the met tower at Winter Island are mounted at 30, 40 & 50 meters high.
The tower will remain in place for 9 – 12 months to assess the wind speed during various seasons, to make sure that the available wind over the course of a year will make a wind turbine economically viable. Note that the wind does not typically need to be blowing at all times to make the numbers work here.
Gathering this data is but the first step in determining the feasibility of wind power at Winter Island. A detailed feasibility study will follow the collection of the met tower data if the average wind speeds are found to be at acceptable levels. This study will be undertaken at no cost to the City, as Salem has just been awarded a grant from the Mass Clean Energy Center to cover its full cost.
Graphs of the data from the loggers will be posted to this page (in PDF format) at least once a month. Click the links below to view the graph for the listed time period. The average wind speed for a given time period can be found at the bottom of the graph.