Fayette schools receive wind turbine grant 3.25.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette school superintendent Russ Griggs believes that wind power makes a lot of sense for the school district—especially with the proper funding.

Griggs learned earlier this month that a $200,000 grant was awarded by the Ohio Department of Development through the Renewable Energy Incentives program. A letter from the Ohio Energy Office told Griggs that his proposal was accepted.

The district has about $500,000 remaining from construction of the new school through the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). Griggs would like to add that to the wind turbine project.

Use of the OSFC funds is limited by project regulations and Griggs sees the turbine as a much better option than sending the money back to Columbus.

If all of the OSFC funds were applied to the project, the district would still be about $250,000 short. Griggs is applying for additional funds through the federal stimulus project.

Failing that, Griggs would push for a loan, with payback coming through the energy savings realized through wind power.

Working with a consultant, Griggs has learned that the 250 kW turbine could lead to a savings of around $50,000 annually with an average wind of 5.5 miles per hour.

Griggs told the board of education last week the district has spent about $103,000 so far this fiscal year and should end up with total electrical costs of $130,000.

Fayette joins the Archbold and Pettisville school districts in a joint effort to receive stimulus funding, although Fayette has a different plan for its funds.

“Our project is different from Archbold and Pettisville,” Griggs said. “They’re looking at much larger turbines. I don’t think we’re in the public utilities business; we’re in the education business.”

The other districts plan to generate excess electricity to sell, he said.

Griggs is looking at a machine manufactured by the Dutch company Wind Energy Solutions.

“They have a good track record and their turbines have been installed all over the world,” Griggs said. “The consultant we are working with is currently visiting the company in the Netherlands.”

Most leading manufacturers are located outside the United States since wind power has been used in many countries for several years. Griggs said the consultant will speak to the company about establishing a manufacturing facility in Ohio.

The 250 kW turbine being considered stands 131 feet tall (40 meters), with a pair of blades that measure about 100 feet from tip to tip. Archbold is considering a turbine producing at least 600 kW. The large turbines standing near Bowling Green are capable of producing 1.5 mW.

The noise produced by the turbine is rated at 45 decibels at a distance of 300 meters. Normal conversation is rated between 50 and 65 dB.

Griggs said a proposal at the University of Toledo features the same turbine.

“The board of education has been very supportive of the project, as well as the Village of Fayette,” Griggs said. “The district has a permit to install the unit as soon as it is possible.”

A wind turbine would save the district cash, Griggs said, but it will also make an important statement to students and district residents.

“It would serve as an example and educational tool for students to firsthand witness alternative energy in their back yard,” he said. “Northwest Ohio has a great potential to produce energy from wind power and Fayette Local Schools wish to be part of the future.”

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016