GRANTSVILLE – Garrett County is working toward reducing electricity costs through a program that will determine if Swanton and Grantsville can support community wind turbines.
The county is participating in the Maryland Energy Administration’s Anemometer Loan Program and was awarded state-owned anemometer towers that were installed in the communities in September.
“The anemometer loan program is an excellent resource for local governments, businesses and nonprofits interested in community scale wind projects,” said Mary Beth Tung, director of Maryland Energy Administration. “The program offers a wind resource site assessment study, at no cost to the host, which drastically reduces up-front risks associated with developing wind projects.”
Anemometer towers collect wind speed, temperature and other important meteorological data, which is used in analyses of proposed project locations. These analyses help inform developers if a proposed location has enough wind resources available to make a project economical. Each study can cost up to $20,000.
“The county is considering future wind energy development to supplement the three ground-mount solar arrays coming online later this spring,” said Brian Bowers, purchasing agent with the Garrett County Purchasing Department. “When sunshine is in short supply, especially during those long winter months, wind energy could be a major asset to the county’s renewable energy efforts.”
A number of local governments across Maryland have participated in the program.
“Crisfield City, Maryland, recently commissioned a community wind turbine, which should generate enough electricity to offset the entire annual load of the city, making it one of the first municipal governments in the United States to become net-zero,” said Samuel Beirne, program manager for the Maryland Energy Administration Wind Energy. “I expect more local governments will become interested in community wind now that it’s been proven in Maryland.”
For more information on MEA grants, visit www.energy.maryland.gov.
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