What is the Wind for Schools program?

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Powering America program (at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) sponsors the Wind for Schools Project to raise awareness in rural America about the benefits of wind energy while simultaneously developing a wind energy knowledge base in future leaders of our communities, states, and nation.the state.

What is the Colorado Wind Application Center?

The Colorado Wind Application Center at Colorado State University (CSU WAC) helps bring the Wind for Schools program to rural Colorado K-12 schools by facilitating the procurement and installation of wind energy systems.  The CSU WAC provides:

  • Wind resource analysis
  • Wind turbine siting/placement
  • System design technical assistance
  • Utility interconnection technical assistance & guidance
  • Technical assistance in acquiring required permits (which vary by jurisdiction)
  • Financial assistance
  • Ongoing technical assistance

The CSU WAS also provides energy-related curricula and teacher training for K-12 schools across the state.

Who can participate in WfS?

Any K-12 school is eligible to participate in WfS.

How many schools can participate in WfS?

Six (6) schools were selected in 2009 and two more in 2010.  Each school received $5,000 in grant funds from GEO in 2009 and $10,000 in 2010.  For 2011, we are looking to award $10,000 grants to at least eight (8) schools.  

Can our school choose what kind of wind turbines to use?

Southwest Windpower's Skystream 3.7 turbine has  been selected as the exclusive turbine for the WfS program.  The WfS program uses the Skystream turbine for several reasons:

  1. Southwest Windpower offers Skystreams at a 30% discount to WfS Host Schools
  2. The Skystream is one of the few (if not the only) small, grid-connected turbine that is IEEE 1547.1 and UL 1741 certified
  3. The data acquisition system for the Skystream is configured to allow connection to the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Idaho National Laboratory.  Data from WfS Host School turbines can be made available for public use from the CAES site.
  4. The Skystream is one of the most popular home-scale wind turbines with over 7,500 turbines installed worldwide since 2006.

Will WfS help find funding for turbines other than the SkyStream 3.7?

WfS receives a 30% discount on the Skystream turbines, significantly reducing the overall project cost for each school. Due to the high costs associated with other turbines, the CSU WAC is unable to commit time to finding funding for other turbines types. 

Will the Skystream turbine offset power our school?

No.  For sure, the power that the turbine generates will be fed into the school's electrical system but it won't power the school.  The Skystream has a rated power of 2.4 kW while the power required at the school is several hundred kW, depending on the size of the school.  In a good wind regime (Class 3-4 wind), the average monthly energy generation is typically 300-400 kWh/month. So the Skystream will only offset just a small portion of the energy consumed at the school.  It's important to understand that theWfS program is primarily educational and the main purpose is to bring energy education into the classroom, not offset the schools power.

How much money does it cost to participate in the program?

The cost will vary based on the soil characterisitcs, the foundation design, and the tower height.  But a reasonable estimate is that it will cost $12,500-$17,500 per school. This includes the costs of purchasing, transporting, and installing the turbine, as well as site costs such as foundation construction. The overall cash cost of the program can be reduced by finding local in-kind contributors for portions of the project. For example, a local construction company can donate their equipment and labor toward the foundation construction. The CSU WAC can help by developing outreach materials and helping with fundraising.

Does my school need to raise all of the money for the wind turbine?

WfS recommends that schools and/or districts contribute a minimum of $1,500, though it's more likely that $5,000 - $7,500 will be required. This can be either in-kind or cash. Schools may also be able to raise funds through local community funds.  However, the project funding is ultimately the responsibility of each school.

What is the level of ongoing involvement required by the facilities manager and IT staff?

The facilities manager and IT staff are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the data acquisition system. This involvement is expected to be minimal.

What level of involvement is recommended from the utility?

The utility’s involvement will vary from community to community. It may include financial and/or in-kind contributions, including labor and the use of equipment for installing the turbine and foundation. The utility’s involvement will be determined between the school and the utility.