Monday, May 13, 2013

Cuba school installing wind turbine

By Hannah Schrodt
of the Daily Ledger

CUBA –– -- Cuba Middle/High School will soon have a wind turbine as part of the Wind for Schools project.
The school district was approached by Western Illinois University, with collaboration from Illinois State University, to participate in the state-wind project.
The project is a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Program, which serves to educate citizens about wind energy. According to this program, one of the goals of the Wind for Schools project is to install small wind turbines at rural schools while helping colleges develop Wind Application Centers.
Jolene Willis, wind energy program coordinator at the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs at Western, said that a main reason Cuba was chosen as a site because it has previously served as a site for other projects.
“Back in 2010 and 2011, they hosted a meteorological tower,” she said. It recorded one year’s worth of data of wind. Along with this, the school also hosted a Wind for Schools lunch in 2011.
Because of the school’s interest in wind energy, Willis added that Western decided to take it a step further and see if Cuba Middle/High School would be interested in building a turbine.
“We were looking for an area in Fulton County — at the time, they had a met (meteorological) tower — and we contacted them,” she said.
Willis added that a goal of the program is to give literature about wind energy to schools as wind energy becomes more a part of the economy.
Cuba School District superintendent Brad Kenser said that the project has been going on for about two years.
“We felt it was important to bring wind curriculum to students to understand the importance of wind energy,” he said.
Kenser added that it is also important for students to understand jobs in the field of wind energy and how it might effect jobs in other areas.
The turbine will be integrated into science classes. An agriculture teacher and two science teachers have gone through curriculum training for the turbine.
Kenser also said that the wind turbine is funded by a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
Construction has already started. Kenser said that pouring the cement is done in two separate pourings. The first was two weeks ago.
The weather has delayed the second pouring, but is being scheduled.
Kenser said that the second cement pouring will have to sit for 28 days before the other turbine equipment can be erected.
He added that the turbine should be completed by June 30.