Sites selected for program to measure small wind energy potential in Arkansas

Friday, January 22, 2010

Four sites have been chosen to participate in a program that will measure wind energy potential. The announcement was made today by the Arkansas Energy Office of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and the Department of Renewable Energy at John Brown University.


 Three of the four sites currently have wind measurement towers installed. The towers are installed on property owned by Terry Dunham of Booneville (Logan County); Thomas and Martha Bush, Romance (White County); and Carey and Bill Robertson, Bradford (White County). The fourth installation will take place on January 28 on the property of Jack Turner in Mansfield (Sebastian/Scott County).


Funding of approximately $50,000 for the Arkansas Anemometer Loan Program was provided from both the State of Arkansas and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America Program.


The participants borrow wind measurement instrumentation installed by faculty, staff and students at John Brown University to conduct a one-year measurement study on their property.  Initially, the program is supplying four 34-meter meteorological towers with the equipment necessary to measure and record wind speed and direction. The data is collected and relayed remotely using cellular data plans.


“This program is one of the many exciting opportunities available as we continue to develop Arkansas’s wind energy resources,” said Chris Benson, director of the Arkansas Energy Office. “The data can help Arkansas’s farmers, ranchers, businesses, and homeowners determine if there is enough wind energy at their site to invest in a wind turbine.”


Each anemometer collects wind-speed data in 10-minute intervals. After the 12-month measurement period is completed and the data collected, the equipment will be relocated to other selected participants.


“Commercial enterprises here in Jackson County have jumped out on the leading edge of using wind technology, and we are excited about having hard data that will support further development and adaption of this new technology,” Robertson said. “It seems to be a win-win situation for our community to know what resources we have and have technical support for developing these resources right here at home.”


The second year of the program is anticipated to begin in summer 2010.