Reading, Writing, and Wind Power

John Davis

minnesotawindfarm.jpgSome schools in Minnesota are getting educated to the power of wind energy, as they look to stretch their dollars to meet the demands of rising energy costs.

This story on the web site talks about a district in Washington County and how officials are looking at putting up a wind turbine on school property… a growing trend in the state where wind energy has also become a growing trend:

Schools in the wind energy business are becoming more common. Dozens of Minnesota districts are looking to build turbines in their back yards or invest in southern Minnesota wind farms to generate green energy and extra cash.

Some have undertaken projects on their own, as South Washington County is proposing. The School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley turned on its 20-kilowatt turbine last month.

Others are teaming up with private companies. For example, dozens of Minnesota districts are considering a partnership with Johnson Controls Inc. to build turbines on leased farmland near Austin, Minn.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to involve districts in producing energy and bringing in another revenue stream that’s not relying on the political process,” said Wabasso Superintendent Ted Suss. “Plus, we can use it to teach students about clean, renewable energy sources. It’s one way for us to do our part.”

Wabasso’s portion of the wind farm would produce 10 times the amount of energy the 400-student district uses, Suss said. Suss said turbines could produce energy by early 2010.

Officials admit that the wind energy game can be a bit of a risk for districts looking to raise much-needed revenues, but they also believe it beats selling naming rights to some of the school’s property.