Officials at the Kenston Local School District believe that wind power can cut their electricity costs, while providing important educational opportunities for its students. This week, the district installed wind monitors on the Middle School Building radio tower that will help demonstrate the project's feasibility. The proposed location of a 750-kilowatt turbine would be between the new high school and the football stadium. The cost of the project is estimated at $1.2 million.
The study is part of the Ohio Anemometer Loan Program being managed by Green Energy Ohio (GEO), and funded in part by the Ohio Department of Development and the US Department of Energy. The Geauga County school district in the Cleveland area is one of two sites selected in the first year program, says Steven Watts, GEO's Wind Program Manager. Iten Industries, a small plastics manufacturer in Ashtabula County, was also selected. The sites were selected based on wind resource potential and the advance work that each site sponsor has completed in preparing for the installation of a large scale wind turbine.
GEO will support communities that participate in the Anemometer Loan program in securing financial grants and low-cost loan support for megawatt-sized turbines, says GEO Executive Director. Bill Spratley. "We are lucky to have enthusiastic champions at Kenston," Spratley says. "They have already secured a significant amount of the funding to support implementation."
"The renewable energy industry is important to all our futures," says KLSD Superintendent Dr. Robert A. Lee. "Students, including those in our Envirothon Group, will have valuable exposure to monitoring and analysis," he said. Plans also include the posting of study data on the school's nationally recognized website, which averages 40,000 hits per day.
The success of wind turbine generators at schools has been demonstrated at a number of school districts in Iowa. As an example, the Spirit Lake Community Schools in Iowa generates wind-powered electricity that offsets more than $150,000 per year in the district's utility costs with a 250-kilowatt turbine installed in 1991, and a 750-kilowatt turbine installed in 2001.
In Ohio, a project pioneered three years ago by the municipal utility in Bowling Green, began with two 1.8 Megawatt turbines, with the combined capacity to power approximately 750 homes. With the success of the first two turbines, Bowling Green added two additional turbines and now has a total capacity of 7.2 Megawatts.