As the Wind Blows
|Joe Oveson and the control panel of his anemometer.|
This is Emery County and everyone knows how much the wind blows here. Why, our Emery County wind is practically famous. People talk about it all over the state, as soon as they know you're from here, you'll usually get some sort of comment about the wind from them.
So, just how hard does it blow in Emery County. Joe Oveson from Elmo is interested in that very fact. He has been interested in the wind for some time. Does the wind blow hard enough that it could turn a turbine to generate power? Just off hand you might say sure it does, this wind has blown you around many times.
Oveson wanted to know for sure so he has installed an anemometer on the Salt Lake Knoll, between the towns of Cleveland and Elmo. The little knoll sits in the middle of acres of flat lands which belong to Oveson. The perfect place for a little wind farm should the wind be stiff enough to operate it. Oveson also pointed out it is close to existing power lines which will be a benefit for transmission of the wind generated power.
Oveson believes wind power is a great, clean supplemental power source for coal fired power plants. He doesn't think wind power will ever replace the coal industry, but it can add to its life so the coal reserves we're using now will last longer. "When I started in the Starpoint mine right out of high school they said they had 60 years of coal there, but they mined out one and two and had to close down; then we were shipped over to Willow Creek which is hard to work because of the gases. Wind power will extend the coal reserves we have," he said.
Oveson thinks that with the Farm Bill and other sources of legislation that wind power producers have been treated unfairly. Solar power and wind power are not being offered the grant money that other alternative sources of energy like, producing methane gas from manure and other experimental projects are. "I think the senators and legislators need to be educated and the utilities should be obligated to buy the power that is generated by small producers," said Oveson.
Oveson reports that with his anemometer they will be doing a 14 month study. His application was approved out of 50-60 others for the installation of the meter. It was installed on the highest point and has been measuring the wind velocity since Nov. 21. It also records a number of other statistics. It tells the wind direction and how long it blew from that direction during the month. It records the data from month to month. Right now the average wind speed is 6.7 m.p.h. to 9.4. In order for a wind farm to operate the average wind speed must reach 17 m.p.h. The highest wind gust recorded was 68 m.p.h. on March 14. Oveson is disappointed with the average wind speed in the county, he thought it blew more, but so far the statistics haven't proven that to be true. Oveson said it blows but it doesn't blow consistently. He is hoping the average wind speed will pick up. The anemometer is 60 feet tall and Oveson was told the higher you can get it the better it is.
Oveson said his family helped him install it and it was quite an experience. Oveson stressed the area a wind farm is placed on is very important. The land can't be too steep and a large wide flat area is best. Wind power is great because you don't need the water that other power sources use. If the spot Oveson has chosen does prove to be a candidate for wind power he will lease the land to the company who installs the windmills and begins producing windpower.