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First Utah wind farm generates local interest

Sun Advocate publisher

A huge cranes stands near one of the towers which will soon have large blades attached to it. The power system is supposed to be finishing in the next 45 days and will generate 18.9 megawatts.

While it's location is 50 miles away from eastern Utah, wind generation towers going up in the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon has created a stir among local residents in Carbon and Emery Counties.

And while the effect of the eventual supply of power to 12,000 homes from the site does not directly impact the local power plants, these kinds of projects in time could have a significant impact on the future growth of coal fired power generation.

But for today, with most eastern Utah residents traveling to the Wasatch Front on Highway 6 at one time or another, the towers and their construction are an amazing thing to see.

The wind farm that is being set up in a gravel pit right in the middle of the canyons mouth will eventually have nine towers that will supply power locally to homes in Spanish Fork and other surrounding small towns through Rocky Mountain Powers grid. The property owners on which the towers are being built include Spanish Fork City, the Strawberry Water Users Association and the gravel pit, which is held by a private owner. The entire footprint of the complex will spread over 65 acres.

The complex is being built by Edison Mission Energy and Wasatch Wind, a Utah company based in Heber.

Most often these kinds of wind farms are built on ridges or hill tops, and often on flat areas too. But in this case, because of the constant wind that comes down the canyon, these are being placed in what is basically a natural wind tunnel.

The towers are much taller than any building south of Salt Lake City, towering into the sky nearly 200 feet. Each of the three blades are about half that length and are not made of aluminum, but of a composite material.

Construction workers assemble one of the huge fan blades that will be placed on the tower behind the crane.

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