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Wind, Solar Demonstration Project Learning Tool for Wyoming's Rural Families

June 10, 2010

A Casper demonstration project converting Wyoming wind and sunshine into electricity will help transfer those emerging technologies to rural families, according to organizers.

The wind and solar project that will help power the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service's Agricultural Resource and Learning Center (ARLC) will be unveiled 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 15. The public is invited. The ARLC is at 2011 Fairgrounds Rd.

The $67,000 project is entirely grant funded and a partnership among the extension service, University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, Natrona County and Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky renewable energy program.

The 2.4-kilowatt wind turbine and 24-panel, 4.2-kilowatt solar array with two different types of solar panels will provide a hands-on demonstration of the technology, says Tom Heald, extension service educator who spearheaded the project.

"The ARLC is the perfect place to have this demonstration," said Heald. "It is a natural meeting place for rural residents to gather from across the state. Renewable energy has gotten its fair share of attention, but this demonstration will show people how renewable energy is made, stored and utilized. This will aid many residents considering renewable energy for their future plans."

The wind- and solar-power generators will be connected to Rocky Mountain Power's electrical system. Any excess energy will go on the power grid and help reduce the center's costs. One of the two types of solar panels uses battery storage so energy can be used later.

"We are pleased a Blue Sky funding award has helped make this project a reality," says Leslie Blythe, Rocky Mountain Power customer and community manager. "The Blue Sky program provides a simple and convenient way for our customers to voluntarily support renewable energy development in the region and close to home through community-based projects like this one."

More information is at

The unveiling includes brief presentations by project sponsors, an explanation of how the technologies work, a walking tour of the facility and a Web-based display of the energy generated by the turbine and solar panels.

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