Western North Carolina Anemometer Loan Program

Western North Carolina Anemometor Loan Program (WNCALP) is part of the Small Wind Iniative's effort to increase the use of small scale wind power in the Southern Appalachian Region. WNCALP will loan and install wind measurement equipment for one year to owners of property with the potential of harvesting wind power. After one year, the information collected will enable us to determine the energy in the wind and the amount of energy that might be harvesed from the wind. Once we determine the wind energy flowing over the land we can use wind turbine manufacturer information to calculate the output of any specific wind generator, and determine which generator would be the most cost effective for a given budget or site. With the above information we can determine the equipment payback period, develop a better understanding of the wind resources in North Carolina, and validate computer modeled wind speed predictions based on the North Carolina wind map made possible by the US DOE and NC State Energy Office. This will help us to validate or assess the accuracy of the NC wind map.

Each year, the WNCALP will install anemometers in various counties of the Western North Carolina region. An anemometer is a device that tells us the speed of the wind. This device in conjunction with a digital data logger and a wind direction sensor will help us determine when, from where, and how much the wind is blowing at a particular site. The systems that will be installed are the 34 meter NRG TallTower or the 20 meter NRG-NOW System-Wind Explorer, produced by NRG Systems. This company is known around the world for its wind analysis instrumentation. The Wind Explorer consists of 66ft of 3.5in pipe, four-anchor guy system, data logger, direction indicator, anemometer, and associated hardware, wiring, and grounding materials.

The United States Department Of Energy, North Carolina Energy Office, and Appalachian State University are funding this program with Appalachian State University having responsibility for coordinating and implementing the program. The North Carolina Solar Center is also involved.