DeWitt, Ark. – It’s windy, all right.
The results are already proving to be helpful as the DeWitt campus of Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas prepares to enter its fifth month of the Arkansas Anemometer Loan Program implemented by John Brown University in Siloam Springs.
John Brown and PCCUA officials are collecting a year’s worth of wind data through three anemometers, which assess whether installing a wind turbine in Arkansas County is a feasible option. Terry Turner, PCCUA instructor for renewable energy technology, said he thinks there is.
“There are some people here locally that are considering wind turbines, so instead of just spending money, I think people can get this data, look at it and and put it up,” Turner said.
So far, Turner said the data is looking good, although they need to collect a full year‘s worth to make sure. It’s better than what was predicted – there was no wind in Arkansas County.
The anemometers check how fast the wind is blowing every four minutes at two heights. Two anemometers are located at 110 feet in the air while the second is located at 68 feet tall.
“If they take the wind levels at each number then they can figure out how it would be even higher than the 110 feet,” Turner said.
The information collected is emailed to both Turner and John Brown officials at midnight daily. The information includes the wind’s temperature in Celsius as well as how fast it is going in meters per second. According to arkansasenergy.com, wind speeds of at least 4 meters per second is 9 miles per hour.
For one meter per second gust of wind, it equals about 2.2 miles. Turner estimated, so far, that the fastest wind he’s seen so far was about 35-36 miles per hour.
John Brown, in conjunction with the Arkansas Wind Working Group, launched the state’s anemometer loan program in April 2010 through $25,000 in Wind Powering America funding and additional state funds.
Turner originally applied for the program January 2010 and didn’t get selected. John Brown officials contacted him a year later to see if he was still interested ― he was. The anemometers were put up in April.
For Turner, he said he is more interested in wind energy than solar energy because it would put out more energy and collect energy throughout the night as well.
“I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I’ve had people inquire about it.”
After the year is up, Turner said local residents and officials would be able to see if the wind turbines are a feasible possibility in Arkansas County. One interested party is PCCUA itself. While Turner said they are interested in the possibility, they would also have to look at funding. If one was put up, it could power about two-thirds of the campus and, ideally, PCCUA would look at all three colleges.
The amount of wind needed varies with the turbine’s size. According to arkansasenergy.com, a 1.5-kilowatt wind turbine would meet the needs of a home requiring 300 kilowatt-hours per month. This turbine would require 6.26-meters-per-second, or 14-mile-per-hour, annual average wind speed.
“The smaller the turbine, the more wind is needed to work,” he said.
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