A state of the art research buoy has just been pulled ashore in Muskegon for the winter. The boat-sized platform took wind readings four miles out in Lake Michigan for the last two months.
Early indications are winds over the lake are stronger and more consistent than those measured on land. The data eventually will show whether it makes sense to put wind turbines on the water.
But a million dollars in state money for the project was cut in December. The funding glitch comes after a court ruled the legislature failed to include a fund for energy grants in a new law.
James Edmonson, directs the $3 million dollar project which involves the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Grand Valley State.
"And we're working diligently to at a minimum raise the funds it takes just to get the buoy back into the lake, let it sit there for nine months and collect data," he says.
The offshore wind project is designed to build a body of data for Lake Michigan over the next three years. It's the first time laser technology on a floating buoy is measuring wind speeds at various heights over the Great Lakes.