USDA Rural Development State Director Tony Logan joined officials from the Ohio Department of Education, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Green Energy Ohio (GEO), on Feb. 10, 2011, to co-host a Wind for Schools informational briefing at Rural Development’s state office in Columbus. The briefing’s primary goal was to increase statewide awareness of the educational benefits of small scale wind projects at Ohio’s K- 12 schools.
Briefing attendees included classroom educators, representatives from business, agriculture, power companies, green energy advocates and Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. Participants discussed the US Department of Energy’s (USDOE) pilot Wind for Schools program and reviewed opportunities for state, federal and school district collaboration to deploy similar wind projects in Ohio.
As the program operates in other states, schools are recruited to sponsor and provide locations for small (2kw- 10kw) wind turbines using logistical support and financing from a variety of sources. The wind turbines become part of the school’s green energy and science curriculum from planning through construction and throughout their operational lives. Since the turbines reliably generate electricity, the projects pay themselves off with energy savings over a short period of years.
“The wind industry offers new career opportunities for rural residents which we would like to introduce to students at the grade school and high school levels,” said AWEA spokesman Larry Flowers.” We want to get kids excited about wind energy so they can help to lead the charge in increasing its use.”
Flowers, who until last year led the USDOE’s Wind Powering America program from the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, reported that USDOE maintains a goal of generating 20 percent of the nation’s energy through wind power by 2030.
Currently 11 states, including Ohio, are supporting Wind for Schools projects. Ohio’s project became operational in 2006 and is located at Indian Lake High School in Logan County, Ohio. It consists of a 10kW wind generation unit that was funded by Buckeye Power and the Logan County Electric Cooperative. All of the electricity generated by the wind project is used by Indian Lake High School to help reduce its energy costs.
To learn more about how USDA supports wind energy projects across America, click here.