2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Wind turbines are used to convert wind energy into wind power (i.e., electricity) that can flow into the power grid. According to the Idaho Office of Energy Resources (formerly Idaho Department of Water Resources, Energy Division), portions of the USDA, ARS, U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Clark County, Idaho, as well as other lands within the borders of Clark County, Idaho, have significant wind power potential; see, http://www.energy.idaho.gov/wind/wind_potential.htm. However, a comprehensive, longitudinal survey of wind speed and direction is lacking in Clark County, Idaho. Without this information, the actual wind power potential of locations within Clark County, Idaho, cannot be determined, and wind energy companies must have that information before they can determine whether wind-farm development is feasible.
Thus, the objective for this cooperative research project is to collect data from an anemometer that is positioned in a strategic location at the USDA, ARS, U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. This anemometer will be part of an array of anemometers within Clark County, Idaho. The data from the anemometer at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station and data from other anemometers within the array will be used to improve the planning and execution of U.S. Sheep Experiment Station research that contributes to ARS National Program 215 (Pasture, Forage, Turf and Range Land Systems). In addition, the data will be used to produce a comprehensive map of wind speed and direction within Clark County, Idaho, and to determine whether wind-farm development is feasible in Clark County, Idaho. Under existing authorities, the ARS can develop agreements with energy development companies and retain fees to support U.S. Sheep Experiment Station research programs. The collaboration between the ARS and the Clark County, Idaho, Economic Development Office should also enhance rural development in Idaho.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A 20-meter tall mast with an NRG Wind Explorer kit affixed to the top of the mast will be used to collect wind data. The instrument is located on the crest of a hill at approximately 1,695 meters elevation and approximately 0.4 km from the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station headquarters building. The Idaho Office of Energy Resources, working with the U.S. Department of Energy, installed the anemometer in September 2005 to help the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station determine whether small wind turbines could be used to reduce U.S. Sheep Experiment Station dependence on electricity from the commercial power grid. The anemometer has been in nearly continuous service since it was installed. The anemometer, mast, and guy wires were the property of the Idaho Office of Energy Resources, which has since transferred ownership to Clark County, Idaho. The Clark County, Idaho, Economic Development Office will be fully responsible for maintenance and repair of the NRG Wind Explorer kit, including the supporting mast and all guy wires.
The NRG Wind Explorer instrument transfers data to a logger at the base of the mast, and the data are stored on a removable data module. The data module will be removed and interrogated at regular intervals. When one data module is removed, another one will be inserted into the data logger to minimize the loss of data. The data from the anemometer at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station will be archived at the Clark County, Idaho, Economic Development Office and then transferred to the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. Data from other anemometers in the array will be transferred to the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station when needed for research planning and execution.
This is the final report for this project. The research contributes to objective 2 of the related in-house project, "Develop science-based grazing management strategies and decision support systems that can be used to guide managers to maintain or improve the ecological function of western rangelands". We were able to determine that the location of this anemometer precluded collecting data that were relevant to most of our research plots, although the location was useful for describing wind to power potential for Clark County, Idaho. Based on data from this and other anemometers during the project period, Clark County, Idaho, determined that wind-farm development in Clark County, Idaho, is not currently feasible. Clark County has ceased their study, and the anemometer at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station either will be decommissioned and removed or handed over to ARS, depending on a decision from Clark County Commissioners.