Answer is blowin’ in the wind | ParkRecord.com

Answer is blowin’ in the wind

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A finger in the wind will not quite suffice at Quinn’s Junction.

Instead City Hall has erected a 66-foot-tall tower outside the Park City Ice Arena and attached wind-measuring equipment, an effort to determine if there is enough wind to generate energy at the site.

Crews recently put up the tower on Intermountain Healthcare land, along with two wind-measuring devices, known as anemometers, to learn about the wind patterns. One of the devices is at 28 feet and the other is at 65 feet. A state energy program loaned City Hall the devices and towers, and the testing is being done without cost to city taxpayers.

The measurements are crucial as officials consider options for someday installing an energy-generating wind turbine at Quinn’s Junction. There had been chatter at City Hall for some time about the possibilities, and leaders have long been intrigued with the idea.

Crystal Ward, the City Hall staffer who is managing the wind testing, says a turbine could be installed as early as summer 2009, depending on whether the measurements show there is the likelihood of generating wind-powered energy.

Ward says officials are "fairly certain" there will be adequate wind at the site. She bases her projection on consultant work. She says data will be collected monthly, with the first reading scheduled at the end of October. She anticipates the devices will be taken down at the end of March.

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An energy-generating wind turbine at Quinn’s Junction would be a notable achievement as City Hall presses forward with its wide-ranging environmental efforts. The local government, especially during the administration of Mayor Dana Williams, has made environmentalism, sometimes referred to at City Hall as sustainability, a key priority.

Leaders have aggressively touted cleaner-burning energies, such as wind generated power, as part of the environmental efforts.

A wind turbine outside the ice arena would generate power that would then be put into the local grid. Ward says it is estimated a turbine could produce about one-third of the annual power needed to run an ice-resurfacing machine at the ice rink.

Williams is confident as the testing starts, saying studies from the 1980s indicated Quinn’s Junction is windy. He says an idea to build an airport at Quinn’s Junction was once nixed over concerns about wind.

The mayor says installing a turbine could illustrate to other communities that wind-generated power is viable.

"What we’re trying to do is go beyond the talk . . . This is actually putting it on the ground," Williams says.

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