A goal of the Small Wind Initiative has been to operate an anemometer loan program to help those in the western part of the state more accurately assess their wind resources.
Anemometers measure the speed of the wind, wind vanes determine the direction of the wind, temperature sensors determine the possible icing of these sensors, and dataloggers collect and store all of this data. These sensors are mounted on a tower at prospective wind turbine sites.
An anemometer loan program provides the public the opportunity to use these towers to determine their own wind resources. This is an important service for both the landowner and the small wind industry in general. The landowner can borrow the equipment instead of making a big financial investment. It is good for the small wind industry because it helps prevent the use of the technology at inappropriate sites, which makes the technology seem like it is ineffective.
This program has also been beneficial to Appalachian State University’s Appropriate Technology program. It has allowed students the opportunity to learn about the process behind wind assessment by getting involved with the construction of these towers. The general public has also had the opportunity to learn about wind assessment through joint ventures between the Small Wind Initiative’s workshops and scheduled anemometer tower installations. There are now more than twenty anemometer loan programs in the United States supported by the DOE’s Wind Powering America program.