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Michigan State to offer project on wind energy
By KEVIN WALKER
Michigan Correspondent

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University (MSU) has launched a new project to help producers get involved in the use of wind energy. As part of the project, it will lend out five anemometers to farmers to measure wind capacity on their land.

The project, titled Integrating Wind Energy Resource Information into the Michigan State University Extension System, is receiving funds from the state and federal governments. The program will include wind energy workshops, and information for farmers about the legal aspects of wind energy.

“We have received many calls and requests for applications,” said Lynn Hamilton, visiting professor at MSU and coordinator of the project.

The deadline for applying for the anemometer loan was March 10, and it will be decided later this month who will receive the devices. Anemometers measure wind speed, and they collect data in 10-minute intervals.

Farmers interested in wind energy have three options. They can lease their land to developers, who put up the capital and operate the wind project while farmers receive payments for use of the property.

Farmers may also choose to develop and own the wind turbines themselves, either via cooperative or sole ownership. A third option is to install a small-scale wind turbine on the farm to reduce the energy costs of their operations.

The wind energy project has been underway since July 2004, and was funded for $90,000 for the first 18 months. Another $105,000 has been allocated to continue the project through this year. So far 11 workshops have been given on this topic as part of the program, and 650 people have attended.

There’s no schedule for future workshops, since according to Hamilton, workshops tend to be scheduled on demand by county extension agents. There is a website for the project at http://web1.msue.msu.edu/wind

This farm news was published in the March 15, 2006 issue of Farm World.

3/15/2006