The Dynamic Great Lakes on Kindle    

click the link above

This critically acclaimed book is also available in paperback from many bookstores and online at Amazon.com, bn.com and many other places.

 

DynamicGreatLakes-Independent_FullCover copy

A Tern in Flight

October 1, 2011


Pictured is my watercolor of a tern flying over the whitecaps of the Great Lakes. It’s windy today and it seems the terns and seagulls love to ride the wind.

Wind Power Muskegon and GVSU

February 18, 2011


MUSKEGON –
A timely article from the Muskegon Chronicle

When the head of the Grand Valley State University alternative energy center asked for the city of Muskegon’s help in establishing an offshore wind research buoy in Lake Michigan, there was no controversy.

Axys Technologies Inc.A deployed Axys WindSentinel Offshore Resource Assessment Buoy that is similar to what GVSU plans to place in Lake Michigan.
Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center Director Arn Boezaart asked the Muskegon City Commission for the city to be a co-applicant on state and federal environmental permit applications.

Commissioners quickly voted the city’s support and heaped praise on Boezaart for the activities of the energy center in downtown Muskegon.

Anyone who sat through last year’s hearings on offshore Lake Michigan wind farms proposed by Scandia would be hard-pressed to see the Ludington City Council or the Pentwater Village Council taking such quick action.

The offshore wind turbine issue simply is not as controversial in Muskegon County as it has been in Oceana and Mason counties. County boards in both Oceana and Mason voted against the Scandia proposal, while Muskegon officials remained relatively supportive.

So when Boezaart approached the city of Muskegon this week for a hand on a $3.7 million offshore wind research buoy project, no one asked if the wind testing effort would eventually lead to huge wind turbines being placed on Lake Michigan off the coast of Muskegon.

There was no debate about turbine blades killing birds or about low-frequency turbine noise — topics that would have likely been part of the conversation with Muskegon’s northern neighbors.

“Muskegon has had a willingness to look at offshore wind,” Boezaart told The Chronicle after receiving the city’s support on the research buoy project. “It goes right back to what we saw with the Scandia issue. In Muskegon, offshore wind is viewed as a potential source of jobs and represents new business for the region.”

Boezaart told city commissioners that the offshore wind buoy project is progressing but still has several hurdles to clear before a unit can be placed in Lake Michigan, maybe as soon as this summer.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, secured an initial $1.4 million federal “earmark” from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore offshore wind on the lakes. GVSU has received further financial support from the Michigan Public Service Commission, the public utility Wisconsin Energy and the University of Michigan’s Phoenix Energy Institute.

As the research project grew and evolved, the group is now seeking to place a floating buoy with sophisticated wind measuring devices in various locations in Lake Michigan from April through December. GVSU also is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to place the research buoy.

To get federal and state approval to put the 5-by-18-foot anchored platform in Lake Michigan, a permit is needed, including a co-applicant with riparian rights to the lake. The city of Muskegon has extensive park property on the lake, giving it riparian rights.

The city has agreed to be a co-applicant with GVSU to win approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment. The buoy project also needs the approval of the U.S. Coast Guard, Boezaart said.

The city’s involvement is that of co-applicant and will not cost the city any money and minimal staff time, City Manager Bryon Mazade said. The city has a longstanding partnership with GVSU to locate the college’s energy center in a business park on the city’s Muskegon Lake waterfront.

“The city being on board with this project puts out a strong message for the community and the region,” Boezaart said of the city’s willingness to explore offshore wind development.

GVSU and its research partners are working on final negotiations with a potential vendor of the buoy and test equipment. Much work needs to be done to get a buoy placed yet this year, Boezaart said.

Muskegon city commissioners quickly gave their approval and credited Boezaart with creating positive activity at MAREC since he was appointed to head the energy center in 2009.

“MAREC is a valuable thing,” Commissioner Clara Shepherd said. “I want to commend MAREC for the great job being done.”

Vice Mayor Steve Gawron told Boezaart that the city stands as a partner with GVSU on energy issues and would like to see as much develop from the energy center as possible.
Published in the Muskegon Chronicle
Email: dalexander@muskegonchronicle.com



Another very windy day on the Great Lakes. Some people are skilled enough to kite board in this weather but it is very risky business.

The waves are crashing over pier heads creating a dangerous place to walk. It’s a good idea to stay off of the piers.


Some of the best conditions for Kite Boarding may be found in West Michigan. Lots of wind and surf. Kite boarders fly over the water as they flip and careen over the waves.

A Fresh Wind is Blowing

March 23, 2010


Michigan’s Governor Granholm wants green businesses for Michigan such as wind turbines to produce energy and solar panels.  These new industries could employ many people who have lost their jobs due to the faltering automotive industry. 

In West Michigan, Muskegon and Grand Haven would be good places to construct wind turbines off shore in Lake Michigan.  This would produce clean energy.  Coal burning power plants deposit mercury in the water and that is ingested by fish. Sport fishing is very popular, but no one wants to eat mercury laden fish.

And no one wants global warming caused by all the emissions in the air.