Call me the breeze: Wind turbine factory being considered for Silt
Project might have a fairly long turnaround
This idea may have heads spinning.
Pat Conarro of Anew Energy in Glenwood Springs is interested in building a wind turbine assembly factory in Silt.
“Our board would help him with anything he needs to get that up and running,” Silt town administrator Jeff Layman said.
He said he has connected Conarro with Realtors, pointed out that Silt is an opportunity zone — which can offer tax advantages to investors — and played up access to the railroad.
“I turned him on to the railroad that has a great spur that would work with shipping materials in and product out,” Layman said.
Layman said he has also suggested properties that might meet the factory’s needs.
“Silt gave us four sites to choose to choose from,” Conarro said.
At this point Conarro is interested in a parcel of land between the Holiday Inn and the Bureau of Land Management office south of Interstate 70.
It’s far from a done deal, though.
“We’re probably still a year out before we consider breaking ground,” Conarro said.
There is still work to be done making sure the turbines are ready for production.
““We’re building a wind tunnel to test the turbines,” Conarro said.
“In September we’ll have data back on the equipment. … At that point we’ll be closer to going into production.
“The priority is getting the equipment where it needs to be to sell product in volume,” he said.
Conarro said the turbine parts would be built in Colorado Springs, then assembled in Silt.
But first Conarro will need to assemble some backers.
“We’ve got to get some serious capital involved,” Conarro admitted.
In the meantime Conarro has plenty to keep himself busy.
“He’s like an in-house R&D factory, he’s an ideas guy. He’s a mad scientist, he’s down in that basement coming up with all kinds of cool stuff,” said Mike Lowe, executive director of Coventure in Carbondale. Lowe is working with Conarro on getting grants.
Anew Energy is working on several other energy-saving projects: vertical farming, gravity batteries, energy-independent buildings, a lightpole (with turbine atop) for charging cars and even a top-secret contract.
And while Conarro has big ideas, his turbine is quite small. It’s nothing like the behemoths seen on hillsides across the world. At about six feet tall they would be little challenge for Don Quixote.
“He’s come up with a very simple, small windmill that generates a tremendous amount of power. … Other people have tried to come up with more aesthetic smaller windmill solutions, but based on my research Pat’s idea is a market leader. It’s a game-changer if this product gets to market,” Lowe said.
Conarro takes seriously Gov. Polis’ plan to make Colorado’s electric grid fossil-fuel-free by 2040.
Aside from being used to build a renewable energy product, the factory itself would be a model of renewable energy methods.
“It would be self-sustaining, using wind, solar and hydro, similar to what Tesla built for their batteries,” Conarro said.
Will this factory be built in Silt?
The answer is blowing in the wind.
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