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.”

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017