Wind turbines for Schools project has banner year in 2011

The following article is one in a series of case studies included in AWEA’s recently published Small Wind Turbine Market Report Year End 2011.

As the United States dramatically expands wind energy deployment, the industry is challenged with developing a skilled workforce to support it. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a report describing a 20% wind energy future by 2030, which noted that 500,000 new annual full-time equivalent jobs would be supported. DOE’s Wind for Schools project focuses on K-12 and university educators and students to counter the trend of reduced numbers of U.S. students entering science and engineering fields. The project’s goals are to:

• Equip college and university students with an education in wind energy applications
• Engage American communities in wind energy applications, benefits, and challenges
• Introduce teachers and students to wind energy.

In 2011, 33 turbines were installed as part of the program in the following locations:

• Alaska: Northwestern Arctic Career and Technical Center in Nome, University of Alaska (Mat-Su campus) in Palmer
• Arizona: Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Orme School in Mayer, Saint Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Williams Elementary/Middle School in Williams, Ponderosa High School in Flagstaff
• Colorado: Ponderosa High School in Parker
• Kansas: Eudora High School in Eudora, Jefferson West Middle/High School in Meriden
• Nebraska: Crawford Public Schools in Crawford, Creighton Public Schools in Creighton, Garden County Public Schools in Oshkosh, Hyannis Public Schools in Hyannis, Logan View Public Schools in Hooper, Pleasanton Public Schools in Pleasanton, West Holt Public Schools in Atkinson
• North Carolina: Alleghany High School in Sparta, Avery County High School in Newland, Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies in Buxton, College of the Albemarle-Dare Campus in Manteo, College of the Albemarle-Edenton in Edenton, First Flight Middle School in Kill Devil Hills, J.P. Knapp High School in Currituck, North Wilkes Middle School in North Wilkesboro, Watauga High School in Boone
• Pennsylvania: Penn State in University Park
• South Dakota: Brookings School District in Brookings, Lake Andes School District in Lake Andes, Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City
• Virginia: Henley Middle School in Crozet, Northumberland Middle/High School in Heathsville.

The project’s results as of December 2011 are:

• Eleven states have active programs.
• At the university level, more than 60 students graduated in 2011 with active involvement in the Wind Application Centers.
• Almost 100 turbines have been installed at host schools, impacting many thousands of students.
• Teacher-training programs have been implemented in almost all participating states.
• There is strong interest in developing programs in additional states (including Texas, Illinois, and Iowa) and a defined affiliate program that allows interested schools and states to participate in the program at no cost to DOE.
• New curricula for the K-12 and university levels have been developed to support educational opportunities for students. Wind for Schools also supports teacher training and curricula developed by the NEED (National Energy Education Day) project, the KidWind Project, and Windwise Education.
• A wind turbine data collection and storage mechanism is under development and collecting data for 40 percent of the turbines currently installed. This is the first step to allowing data from turbines to be incorporated directly into curricula at the K-12 and university levels.

Related articles:

Two wind turbines supply electricity to U.S. border station, June 26, 2012
Good news for Goodnews Bay: Wind power to cut diesel fuel costs, July 20, 2012
After the tornado: BTI builds wind dealership network, July 16, 2012
NYSERDA emerges as leading state small wind incentive program, July 10, 2012
Small wind report: U.S. market shrinks, manufacturing grows with exports, July 2, 2012
Conference brings together small wind community, June 27, 2012
Arizona investment fund awards $1.3 million to Native American groups for renewable energy projects, June 25, 2012
Alaska village wind project to save 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, May 29, 2012
At last, a resource map for small wind, May 25, 2012
Turbine installation on Martha’s Vineyard exceeds expectations, May 24, 2012
Birthplace of Wind for Schools, Colorado program honored with Wirth Chair Award, May 8, 2012
U.K. market for small turbines surpasses U.S., but U.S. manufacturers benefit, May 3, 2012
With Illinois launch, Wind for Schools enters new era, April 16, 2012
In triumph for Maine high school students, wind turbine goes online, April 3, 2012
Free at last: High school students get final signoff to install 100-kW wind turbine, December 23, 2011
Small wind milestone: Bergey turbine first to obtain new AWEA Small Wind Turbine certification, December 13, 2011

By Ruth Baranowski, Consultant,