San Juan County and especially Monticello have long been known as places where wind is plentiful. Wind has been a major player over millions of years in carving the magnificent arches and canyons that today draw millions of visitors to this area.
While the wind may have been a nuisance in the past, it may turn into a huge moneymaker. County Commissioner Bruce Adams reports that the past two years of measuring the wind in the county has been successful.
According to Adams, negotiations are in progress to lease property from landowners for wind farms. Two large commercial wind farm developers are interested in developing 40 turbines if negotiations now underway come to fruition.
This writer recently noticed that an amazing number of wind farms have sprung up in West Texas. Texas is one of the most active states in the nation with respect to creating renewable energy with wind.
Last year there were 3,200 turbines installed nationwide at a cost of about a million dollars each. That was a 45 percent increase over 2006.
Utah is anxious to get into the act. Last year, the state legislature created significant incentives for wind development. While wind contributes a small amount of the current electrical needs of the nation, there is still enough power being generated by wind to provide all the power necessary for more than 1.5 million homes.
There are environmental challenges to wind generation. Critics say the turbines, which are 250-350 feet tall and can be seen for miles, are unsightly. Furthermore, environmentalists say birds might be killed by the turbine blades.
The greatest challenge; however, is the lack of educated manpower. There are more than 500 high paying jobs which cannot be filled at the present time.
As imported oil gets more expensive, as coal fired power plants become less desirable because of greenhouse gas emissions and because the best hydro-electric sites in the United States have already been developed, wind may be one of the ways which will eventually help the U. S. achieve energy independence.