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Wind Turbine to Save Money and Energy

October 2010

It’s not a bird or a plane and you don’t have to be Don Quixote to see the new 80-foot wind turbine tower that now stands on the grassy knoll between the Rutherford Elementary School and Monticello High School. Wind turbine

The Bergey 10kW EXCEL turbine was installed in late September as part of a larger energy conservation plan. Its main purpose is to generate a percentage of the electricity the high school uses. At its optimum performance, depending on the quantity, velocity and direction of wind currents in any given time frame, this single structure could produce up to 10 percent of the kilowatt hours utilized by the high school annually. In addition to the energy savings, the turbine and how it functions will now be a hands-on part of the high school curriculum in some math, science and technology classes.

Walking the “Green” Mile

With national attention focused on the utilization of alternative energy sources, Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel committed the district to making the wind turbine a reality as one of the ways of accepting this responsibility on the local level.

“As role models for our children, we need to show them that we are doing positive things to preserve our planet for their future,” said Dr. Michel. “We need to be a part of the solution.”

Monticello is the first public institution in Sullivan County to utilize this technology and district officials will monitor energy savings during the next year to decide whether it is cost efficient to install more units. Director of Facilities and Operations, John Travis, worked with energy project contractor Ameresco and ETM Solar Works - who was subcontracted to install and maintain the unit until it is fully operational. At that point, which is projected to be by the beginning of November, John’s maintenance crews will oversee the tower.

With the predicted cost savings and virtually no out of pocket expense, members of the Board of Education thought it was a good time to embark on this endeavor. And if all goes well, as the technology improves and advances, perhaps one day upon the rooftops of the schools, solar panels will be installed.

More Information about NYSERDA

The wind turbine was paid for by grants and incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) combined with cost savings from NYSEG. Once the unit is fully operational, it will require only minimal maintenance. For more information about NYSERDA and its grant funded programs and alternative energy resources, visit www.nyserda.org