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USU profs win award for film

"Wind Uprising" a documentary about Spanish Fork wind project

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Posted: Saturday, April 10, 2010 12:30 am

A documentary produced by two Utah State University professors on the launch of a Spanish Fork wind power project has received an award at a California film festival.

"Wind Uprising," written by marketing department faculty members Cathy L. Hartman and Edwin Stafford with Michelle Nunez of GreenTech Films, was a Seven Summits Award winner in the environmental film category at the Mountain Film Festival.

Narrated by former Utah senator Jake Garn, the documentary highlights the four-year struggle involved in developing the Spanish Fork Wind Project.

"It is a true entrepreneurship story about how the wind developers persevered to overcome the odds to bring renewable energy to Utah," Stafford said.

Policy barriers, fickle investors, transmission limitations and "not in my backyard" resistance from nearby residents were among the obstacles encountered during the development process.

"We've presented the human side of the story," Hartman added. "These are people next door ... business people in the community who revolutionized the energy industry in the state. That's what makes it so exciting."

Completed in June 2008, the project produces enough power for 19,000 homes, or 74 percent of Spanish Fork's energy needs.

Hartman and Stafford were involved throughout the four years of development, working on feasibility studies and advertisements and testifying before the Legislature.

After small communities began showing an increased interest in wind power education and presentations, the two professors decided to make a documentary, beginning filming in 2007.

The effort was funded by the Renewable Energy for Rural Economic Development project and also received support from Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah. The project is part of the Department of Energy Wind Powering America program, which has education outreach as a major part of its mission.

Hartman and Stafford, who have researched renewable energy since 1995, also have plans for future documentaries and a series of short educational films.

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