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Wind workshops held on the windy plains

By Tony Frank

The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center organized a series of three small wind workshops, held Sept. 6-7 in Atwood, Kan., Holyoke, Colo., and Cheyenne, Wyo. The workshops were designed mostly for individuals, farms and businesses wishing to purchase smaller scale wind turbines.

Sponsors included the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Phillips County Economic Development Corporation, Rawlings County Economic Development Corporation, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Ogallala Commons, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

More than 140 people attended the three workshops, 81 in Atwood and more than 30 in both Holyoke and Cheyenne.
The workshops covered technical aspects, local land use issues, and policy considerations for small wind projects. The workshops also explored the variety of different small turbines that range in capacity from 1 to 100 kilowatts.

Representatives from Entegrity Wind and Energy Wind presented to the attendees about their company’s wind turbines.
Two small wind turbines were available to view and touch at Atwood, Kan.

Bill Paetzold from Hereford, Tex., demonstrated an electrolyzer machine that uses a small wind turbine to generate electricity that takes hydrogen out of water and stores it. He uses it to run a lawn mower. One attendee said, “He is the future of energy. We need to get his contact info.” RMFU Cooperative Development Center staff members Tony Frank and Bob Mailander discussed how the center will begin working with interested producers, businesses, and individuals to provide additional resources, financing options and explore how to work together to reduce costs.

A county commissioner of Albany County, Wyo., said, “Wind energy is Albany County’s coal.” If you are interested in the Small Wind Program, please contact Tony Frank at 303-283-3532 or at tony.frank@co-ops.org.