Anemometer Program Excites County Commissioners
by Gus Jarvis
Jun 24, 2009 | 838 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print

RIDGWAY – Despite a few questions, the Ouray Board of County Commissioners expressed interest in a Colorado State University anemometer loan program that would pay for the construction of a tower for testing wind speeds. A year of data collection would help determine if a particular location is feasible for producing wind power.

The program was presented by county facilities manager Will Clapsadl, who recently received an application for the program. He said the county would have to build a concrete pad for the anemometer tower but that CSU researchers would install the testing equipment and tower, which would be located on a county-owned site, such as the 4-H Event Center or the Road and Bridge shop near Ridgway.

According to Clapsadl, anemometer towers in the program can range from 10-60 meters in height, but the higher the tower, the better the reading. “A year’s worth of data will be collected and they will analyze it for us and tell us if [wind power] is feasible around here,” he said. “If there is enough [wind] power, we could use the same pad for a turbine.”

All three commissioners agreed that testing the region’s wind power is something that would not only be beneficial to the county, but for anyone in the region who is interested in producing wind power.

“It would be nice to have an idea of what the wind power production is here and what the possibilities are,” Commissioner Heidi Albritton said. “I would suggest that we have some meetings with the town, as there is going to be some limitation on the height.”

Commissioners Keith Meinert agreed that the height of the tower will be an important factor in the type of results they get from the data collection.

“The whole crux of the thing is going to be how high do we have to go to get reliable wind,” he said. “I want to do this but what I would like to get out of this is more than just a determination [of] whether the wind at one facility, at one height, is adequate. What is he economic relationship of height and wind efficiency?”

Commissioner Lynn Padgett said she liked the idea of the tower but that she would like more than one site tested in the county.

“I would be interested in doing multiple sites,” Padgett said. “If we could get, say, four to a half-dozen sites approved, it could benefit the state as well.”

Clapsadl said he would look into seeing of more than one site could be tested in the loan program, but also added that there is a one-year waiting list just to get into the program.

Meinert suggested that data collected during the program would also benefit any land use code decisions on wind turbines that may come up in the future.

“When we do get into difficult decision making with the LUC, we [will have] some hard data to work off,” he said.

Clapsadle agreed, stating, “Eventually someone is going to want to do wind power.”

Transfer Station Upgrade Gets the Go Ahead

After a brief discussion, the Ouray Board of County Commissioners on Monday formally approved the construction of a three-phase power line to run the compactor at the Ouray County Transfer Station. The county’s road and bridge building will not benefit from the construction of the line as the commissioners had previously thought.

Commissioner Lynn Padgett started the conversation by moving to “put the whole transfer station out to bid.” She had, in past meetings, expressed frustration that the county should send out a Request for Proposals to other waste disposal companies other than Waste Management to see if the county needs to pay for the upgrades at the transfer center. Since the decision had already been made to move forward with facility upgrades -- including the three-phase power line and fencing -- commissioners Keith Meinert and Heidi Albritton both agreed that the county must move forward with what had already been agreed upon.

“When we made the decision to move forward with Waste Management to put in a fence and power supply, all of that was specifically done to enable the continuation of the transfer station at the current site,” Meinert said. “The only thing that has changed is that we can’t use the same three phase transformer at the site to power future applications at the shop. I don’t think we have fundamentally changed the decision that we made. We made a decision and made certain representations to Waste Management.”

Albritton agreed that keeping the station open, uninterrupted, is important during the construction season.

“While I don’t like the way that it has gone down, I feel like we need to have uninterrupted service out there,” Albritton said. “If we put this out to bid, they could cease services. The timing would be really poor to have the site shut down.”

Albritton added that since the county is paying for the upgrade, after a year it will be easier to revisit the service provider at the site and, if need be, send it out to bid then.

Commissioners Say ‘No’ to Waste Management Service Agreement

The Ouray Board of County Commissioners denied the signing of a three-year service agreement with Waste Management for service at the County Courthouse in Ouray and the 4-H Event Center/fairgrounds in Ridgway.

While Commissioner Keith Meinert said he didn’t want to “micromanage” service contracts as small as the contract for trash and recycling cleanup, he felt the contract in front of him was unacceptable.

“I think this is a bad contract,” Meinert said. “The way the profit increase is written, it can be imposed at any time and nothing is tied down on this thing. A three-year commitment with these kinds of escalation clauses? It is not acceptable.”

Rather, Meinert said he would like to sign a contract that states if the rates increase, the county can “get the heck out.”

The commissioners directed the county’s facilities manager Will Clapsadl to see if Waste Management would agree to an addendum on the contract, and if not, do some informal outreach to other trash/recycling service providers to see their prices and contract terms.

Fair Board to Hold Benefit Dinner

The Ouray County Fair Board is planning a catered, fundraising dinner on Aug. 1 from 3-6 p.m. at the 4-H Event Center in Ridgway.

After hearing the details of the event from Event Center Manager Susan Long on Monday, the Ouray Board of County Commissioners approved a request by the fair board to waive the county's use fees for the facility. Long told the commissioners that the cost of holding the fair continues to rise and that the fundraiser, in addition to sponsorships, will be an added income to cover those costs.

“The fair board would like to expand its capability to raise money,” Long said.

While details of the event are still being ironed out, Long said that the cost for the all-you-can-eat dinner will be around $16 for adults, $8 for children and $40 for a family of four. She said that she is looking for two or three bands to play during the dinner and that she will be selling wine and beer.

“This is a good day for it,” Long said, adding that there will already be a dog show going on that day. “It will dove tail well with the events already going on.”

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