For over six years I have worked in the tourism industry here in San Juan County, Utah. Most of the time I had a roaring good time sharing information with visitors about the 4 Corners region of the United States. Once in a while, a great while, a visitor to the area would be so miserable, she or he just couldn't be helped. Being miserable was a priority, and bringing everyone else's good spirits down was part of that priority. Then there is the issue of the Bears Ears National Monument, and folks are still fighting about that! How many times I would meet a person ready to fight about it, and with my response of, "I don't care!", see them deflate, body language full of defeated purpose. How many times is countless, yet priceless; as it amazes me that people on vacation are looking to verbally fight with strangers, instead of enjoy San Juan County's beautiful scenery.
Then there is the Latigo Wind Farm, just north of the small town of Monticello; located in front of the lowest base of the Abajo Mountains; so the view is not ruined at all in reality. I will be posting, from sPower's website a photo and what was written about the wind farm, so you can know their purpose for it.
But before I do that, let me relate a story to you all. One day I met two women from Florida, two seniors traveling together on vacation. One woman approached me and asked, "That wind farm over there, is that the reason this area is so windy?" Now if you haven't been to this area of San Juan County, Utah, the winds here can get quite extreme. Ah, but as locals describe it, 10-30 mph is Slightly Breezy; 30-50 is Breezy; any mph over 50 is, "Boy, it sure is Breezy today!" So, back to the Florida ladies story...
Again, the question to me was, "That wind farm over there, is that the reason this area is so windy?"
With a smile on my face, I replied, "Yes Ma'am, that is the reason", to which she turned to her traveling companion and yelled, "I told you so!", and off they went to whatever adventure was next.
See, in the tourism industry, a customer service person is on the front line and meets individuals from every walk of life. Not everyone is cut out for this type of employment, but myself, I am damned good at it! Or was, for now I'm taking a break, getting back to things that are more important to me...my family (my hubby Roy and our pets), my blogs (and yes Ms.manager of a welcome center, my photos, maps and writings ARE copyrighted, so stop downloading and giving them out under your name *insert evil stare here*), and life in general. Too often these important aspects of my life were set aside to deal with priorities demanded by others. To sit in my comfy chair, typing away, uploading my photos (oh, if in Monticello, Utah, visit the Hideout Community Center and you'll see my photography hanging there in the main hallway, and conference room), and just enjoying...life.
To all those readers of my blogs, thank you so much and I greatly appreciate you all!
So here is sPower's information, so you can be a bit more educated on the purpose of a wind farm. sPower has an office on Circle Drive in Monticello, and they'll gladly answer any other questions you might have.
You're quite welcome!
|Photograph from sPower website.|
The Latigo Wind Farm is
owned and built by Sustainable Power Group (sPower), a renewable energy company
headquartered in Salt Lake City.
Towers reach 280 feet tall, and are topped off
with a 2.3-megawatt turbine made by General Electric. Three, 187-foot-long
fiberglass blades catch the wind. The windmills are aligned in three rows along
a series of undulating ridges on 3,600 acres of private land that sPower leases
from a group of landowners. Armed with sensors and computers, the turbines
automatically swivel up to 360 degrees to find the wind. The individual blades
twist or flatten depending on wind speed. They start producing power at 9-12
miles per hour, and if the wind is over 57 miles per hour they shut down. The
towers are bolted together in sections from the inside. They are each anchored
at the base by 400 cubic yards of concrete with tons of rebar, and bolt cages. The
blades are attached to the 94-ton turbine on the ground, then lifted by cranes
into position on top of the tower.
The wind farm has a capacity of 61 megawatts,
enough to provide electricity for 10,000-20,000 homes for a year depending on
wind production, according to the Energy Information Agency. The power generated
will go directly to the national grid, and not local electric utilities.
sPower has secured a 20-year purchase power
agreement with PacifiCorp, a major utility based in the Northwest. Branching out into wind development
demonstrates sPower’s solution neutral philosophy — a flexible approach that
allows sPower to find environmentally and economically responsible renewable
energy opportunities. Latigo’s ideal location is within a few miles of major
transmission lines, a convenient on-ramp for the national power grid.
transformer in U.S.
To deliver power to the grid, two massive
transformers with a combined weight of 2.5 million pounds were delivered in
November and installed at the Pinto substation on the outskirts of Monticello.
The largest of the two transformers weighed in
at more than one million pounds. They were manufactured in China and
transported by ship via the Panama Canal, then traveled by rail to near Gallup,
New Mexico. The units were slowly trucked the rest of the way through New
Mexico, Arizona, and Utah on a two 30-axle trailers, each with 240 tires.
Monticello’s newspaper, The San Juan Record,
described it as “the largest phase-shifting power transformer in the U.S. and
the second-largest in the world.”
San Juan Record Editor Bill Boyle said the wind
project is the largest private investment on private land in San Juan County
history. It is expected to generate $1 million per year in additional property
Latigo is part of a perfect storm of economic
development for Monticello, and this renewable-energy corporation plans to
partner on education programs.
“We are strong proponents of careers in clean
energy,” said Keller of sPower. sPower
is collaborating with the staff to co-create energy content learning exhibits.
sPower, an AES and AIMCo company, is the
largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States. sPower
owns and operates a portfolio of solar and wind assets greater than 1.3 GW and
has a development pipeline of more than 10 GW. sPower is owned by a joint
venture partnership between The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES), a worldwide energy
company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and the Alberta Investment
Management Corporation, one of Canada’s largest and most diversified
institutional investment fund managers.