Wind turbines mulled for ice rink
July 5, 2006
City Hall sent delegations to various international destinations preparing for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Perhaps officials now may want to go to Holland, not to learn about the Olympics but to chat with the Dutch about their famous windmills.
Park City is considering options to start a test program to demonstrate how the local government could generate electricity from the wind, using modern-day windmills that the supporters call wind turbines.
Last week, the government held a discussion about wind power, considering whether turbines should be built at the Park City Ice Arena at Quinn’s Junction. But Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council were unprepared to finalize decisions and instead wanted lots more information.
They asked that City Hall proceed with changes to Park City’s development code to allow turbines, to investigate potential locations and research what size turbines are available. They also wanted staffers to explore whether other alternative energies, such as solar power, have potential.
The elected officials discussed the price, which would be set at $2,500 if Park City was chosen as a test community for the turbines, or $7,500 if not, according to a report submitted to Williams and the City Council beforehand.
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They also talked about where to install a turbine on the property, with some concerns that it should not be placed up a hillside. However, there were also concerns that a turbine should be placed in a spot where it would be effective, meaning that it should be higher up on the land.
"This is our first foray into this," Williams acknowledged during the discussion.
In the report to the elected officials, Alison Butz, who handles some of the government’s environmental initiatives, said the turbine sits on a 35-foot pole that resembles a flagpole.
The government had been interested in building the turbine in order to generate power for the ice rink’s Zamboni. But Butz indicated in her report that the Zamboni would require 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity each day, four times the 16 kilowatt-hours per day that a turbine is expected to generate.
"This is a drop in the freakin’ bucket," Williams said about the projection, adding he was "mind blown" when he was informed how much power a Zamboni requires.
The mayor, though, said in an interview afterward that he hopes that the government agrees to some sort of system within three months but he admitted that he is not confident the program will proceed on that timeline.
He said it is important that Parkites understand the results of the city’s efforts to make itself what is known as a ‘sustainable’ community, or one that does not greatly stress the natural resources.
"I think it’s important that they see it working," Williams said.
Bridgette Steffen, from Utah Clean Energy, a nonprofit advocating clean energy, attended the meeting and said afterward that she was encouraged with the discussion and said City Hall is committed to using alternative energies, not just in the ice re-surfacer.
"The Zamboni is not the focus," she said, describing Park City as a "forward-moving community"