Consider it one big Christmas present, because by the time Dec. 25 rolls around, the Fayette school district should be generating lots of electricity from the wind turbine that will stand behind the school.
A ceremonial ground-breaking involved students and a variety of construction officials Wednesday morning to mark the beginning of the project.
This is the first turbine project for the Buehrer Group architectural firm, the company that also handled the design of the new school. Henning USU serves as the project contractor and the equipment was purchased from Engineered Process Systems of Huron, Ohio.
The 40-meter tower will support a 250kW turbine, standing on a concrete base measuring 30 feet square and six feet deep.
A pair of 15-meter blades will give the unit a 30-meter diameter. Fayette’s turbine will be the largest school-owned wind turbine in Ohio.
Once the base is poured and given two weeks to cure, the turbine is expected to be erected within two or three days.
Mike Specek of Engineered Process Systems estimates the turbine will supply about 60 percent of the school’s electrical needs. During the days when excess power is generated, electricity will feed into the grid and the school will receive credit for electricity created.
The turbine blades will begin spinning in a minimum wind of eight miles an hour. The system will be designed to operate with a maximum wind speed of 40 miles an hour.
Superintendent of Schools Russ Griggs began investigating the purchase of a turbine after learning that about $600,000 was left over from the school construction project, funded in large part through the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The money could not be used for school operation, programming or athletic facilities and would have to be returned to the state if not used. An additional $265,000 in interest was added to the pot.
The district received a $200,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development to complete funding for approximate $1.1 million cost.
The project includes a maintenance fund for servicing the unit.
The district is expected to save about $50,000 annually in electrical costs.
Foundation work is expected to be completed this month, along with preliminary electrical work.
The turbine is scheduled for delivery Nov. 1 and erection completed by the end of the month. The turbine should be in commission and generating electricity before the new year arrives.