Schools Save Money by Installing Wind Energy Systems

Schools save money by installing wind energy systems. More than 100 schools in 30 states have installed wind generators. The systems not only provide greater energy security and lower bills, but they also teach the students and the community about the benefits of renewable energy.


| October/November 2008



Learn how schools save money by installing wind energy systems, and more schools are taking advantage of wind power opportunities.

Learn how schools save money by installing wind energy systems, and more schools are taking advantage of wind power opportunities.


Photo by Istockphoto/Carrie English-Montoya, Istockphoto/Sidsel Jakobsen

Many school districts across the country found that schools save money by installing wind energy systems and are taking advantage of wind power.

Schools Save Money by Installing Wind Energy Systems

Across the United States, schools are discovering the power of wind turbines. More than 100 schools in 30 states have already installed wind energy systems, and many more are planned. These projects are popular because they save schools money by reducing their high electric bills, and because a wind turbine on school grounds can help educate the local community about the benefits of renewable energy.

How exactly does installing a wind turbine save money? The key is that it’s a long-term investment. The initial cost of the turbine pays for itself over time in reduced electric bills. Exactly how much can be saved depends on how windy the location is and how high a price the school can get for the extra electricity it produces. School wind projects aren’t ideal everywhere, but in many cases, wind pays.

Could a school wind project work for my community? Teresa Galluzzo, a research associate at the Iowa Policy Project, has done considerable research on what makes these projects successful. She co-authored a report, Wind Power and Iowa Schools, which looked at 15 schools: 10 that installed wind turbines, and five that considered wind projects but decided against them. Galluzzo says the schools that installed turbines had several things in common. “They all had significant wind resources, and all were able to negotiate a good price for the extra electricity they produced,” she says. “They also all had someone who was enthusiastic about bringing wind to their community.”

Do these projects help students learn about renewable energy? “Absolutely,” says Dan Nagengast, the Kansas facilitator of the Wind for Schools project, a federal pilot program that’s helping to install wind turbines in five Great Plains states. He says that when schools install wind turbines, they can take advantage of lesson plans that enable students to learn about the turbines. Teachers bring the data from these systems into their classrooms, and students have the chance to learn about how the technology works. “Young people really do get that we’re in a transition period away from fossil fuels,” Nagengast says. “They understand the need, and they’re going to understand the technology.”

In fact, wind turbines can help a whole community learn about wind energy, Nagengast says. “Parents love it. They say, ‘Yeah, our kids are learning something new.’” Seeing wind power in action also helps overcome some of the initial resistance they might have to wind turbines, he says, such as concerns about noise or the aesthetics of the turbines.

claiborne yarbrough
5/18/2011 11:40:58 AM

The Wind for Schools program is a great opportunity for those states that are lucky enough to receive grant funding. And I agree that placement of renewable energy solutions at schools is a great way to get the community to have more exposure to the potential of renewable energy. There is another option: Sprout (see www.sprout-energy.com). Sprout demystifies and simplifies the presence of renewable energy in daily life. Because it has been designed to be sited in high traffic areas, Sprout lets the general public at a glance observe a functioning wind turbine and solar panel array-- whether children at school or those who are entering a park facility or an office building. By checking the easily accessible data on the integrated screen, even the most casual observer is invited to experience the connection between nature and technology. Sprout is designed to make the relationship between you, weather, and renewable energy real.






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