Banner County plans to provide its own power

Star Herald | By MAUNETTE LOEKS | June 17, 2010

Star HeraldAs strong winds kept the flags flying over the Banner County Courthouse flapping Thursday, Banner County Highway Superintendent Toby Tyler talked about harnessing that wind to power the building.

Banner County plans to lead the way to use wind energy to power its courthouse and a roads department building located on the same site. Last week, the Nebraska Energy Office announced that Banner County had been awarded an $82,360 renewable energy grant to construct a 20-kilowatt wind turbine.

Banner County was the only county to receive a renewable energy grant.

“Banner County and its commissioners are a lot more progressive than people think,” Tyler said, adding that commissioners decided to be proactive in encouraging wind energy within the county. The county’s foray into wind energy began when companies began looking at the county for a possible wind farm.

Commissioner Milo Sandberg said proposals heard by the county have as many as 1,250 wind turbines considered for a wind farm. Tyler said he began working with the Banner County Wind Energy Association, a group of landowners being proactive in bringing wind energy to the county.
“It was my first exposure to wind energy,” he said. “The commissioners supported the idea of me going for this grant and submitting a proposal for a wind turbine that would supply power to the courthouse and the road department buildings.

The proposal calls for Banner County constructing a 120-foot high wind turbine, 11 stories higher than the county building it will be placed behind. Its propellers will be more than 30 feet in diameter. The turbine’s cost is estimated to be about $102,950, with Banner County to pick up a 20 percent match of the cost.

Tyler believes the county will have its share of the project paid for in three to five years. That’s because the county also plans to offset its costs by interconnecting into the power grid of High West Energy, the power company that supplies the county.

“When there is no wind, we would use power that is generated from the grid,” Tyler said. “At night, when we are drawing no power, we would get credit by supplying our power.”
Wind resource estimates provided by AWS Truewind LLC place Banner County at netting average wind speeds of 9.5 to 10 miles per hour each day. The wind turbine will begin generating power at speeds as low as six miles per hour and will be operating at full capacity much of the time.

One official estimated that the turbine being considered by the county should produce at least 3,200 kilowatts per hour. A review of the county’s yearly electrical bill showed the county at using 10,000 kilowatts per month. Ideally, he said, the county should be able to offset its power costs.

“During the best condition, we will be generating more power than we need to run these buildings.”

Banner County also plans to approach Western Nebraska Community College, which is implementing a wind energy program to train technicians and others. Tyler said he hopes he’ll be able to work out an agreement with the college that would allow students to utilize the turbine and help Banner County maintain it.

Tyler said Banner County would have to bid the project, which will be constructed in a field that sits behind the courthouse and the roads building. He is hoping to see construction start within the next three months, but a timeline is uncertain.  High West Energy will be cooperating in the project.

http://www.starherald.com/articles/2010/06/20/news/local_news/doc4c1aee8753058782040297.txt

 

Star Herald | By MAUNETTE LOEKS | June 17, 2010

Star HeraldAs strong winds kept the flags flying over the Banner County Courthouse flapping Thursday, Banner County Highway Superintendent Toby Tyler talked about harnessing that wind to power the building.

Banner County plans to lead the way to use wind energy to power its courthouse and a roads department building located on the same site. Last week, the Nebraska Energy Office announced that Banner County had been awarded an $82,360 renewable energy grant to construct a 20-kilowatt wind turbine.

Banner County was the only county to receive a renewable energy grant.

“Banner County and its commissioners are a lot more progressive than people think,” Tyler said, adding that commissioners decided to be proactive in encouraging wind energy within the county. The county’s foray into wind energy began when companies began looking at the county for a possible wind farm.

Commissioner Milo Sandberg said proposals heard by the county have as many as 1,250 wind turbines considered for a wind farm. Tyler said he began working with the Banner County Wind Energy Association, a group of landowners being proactive in bringing wind energy to the county.
“It was my first exposure to wind energy,” he said. “The commissioners supported the idea of me going for this grant and submitting a proposal for a wind turbine that would supply power to the courthouse and the road department buildings.

The proposal calls for Banner County constructing a 120-foot high wind turbine, 11 stories higher than the county building it will be placed behind. Its propellers will be more than 30 feet in diameter. The turbine’s cost is estimated to be about $102,950, with Banner County to pick up a 20 percent match of the cost.

Tyler believes the county will have its share of the project paid for in three to five years. That’s because the county also plans to offset its costs by interconnecting into the power grid of High West Energy, the power company that supplies the county.

“When there is no wind, we would use power that is generated from the grid,” Tyler said. “At night, when we are drawing no power, we would get credit by supplying our power.”
Wind resource estimates provided by AWS Truewind LLC place Banner County at netting average wind speeds of 9.5 to 10 miles per hour each day. The wind turbine will begin generating power at speeds as low as six miles per hour and will be operating at full capacity much of the time.

One official estimated that the turbine being considered by the county should produce at least 3,200 kilowatts per hour. A review of the county’s yearly electrical bill showed the county at using 10,000 kilowatts per month. Ideally, he said, the county should be able to offset its power costs.

“During the best condition, we will be generating more power than we need to run these buildings.”

Banner County also plans to approach Western Nebraska Community College, which is implementing a wind energy program to train technicians and others. Tyler said he hopes he’ll be able to work out an agreement with the college that would allow students to utilize the turbine and help Banner County maintain it.

Tyler said Banner County would have to bid the project, which will be constructed in a field that sits behind the courthouse and the roads building. He is hoping to see construction start within the next three months, but a timeline is uncertain.  High West Energy will be cooperating in the project.

http://www.starherald.com/articles/2010/06/20/news/local_news/doc4c1aee8753058782040297.txt

 

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