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Kansas State University Wind for Schools Graduate Embarks on Renewable Energy Career: A Wind Powering America Success Story

A photo of Andy Fry and the Goessel school board.

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Andy Fry presents a plan to the Goessel school board that evaluates various wind turbines that could be installed given local wind data and site conditions.

Kansas State University Wind for Schools Graduate Embarks on Renewable Energy Career: A Wind Powering America Success Story

Date: 4/27/2010

Location: KS

Andy Fry's hands-on experience with the Goessel Wind for Schools project turbine as part of the Kansas State University team taught him many things, but perhaps the most profound lesson he learned was "patience with the public process." The group successfully prepared a plan and evaluated various turbines that could be installed given local wind data and site conditions. Fry (in the white shirt) presented the report to the Goessel school board.

Andy Fry remembers himself as always being an "engineering-minded individual" interested in mechanical processes, including wind turbines, from a young age. Raised in Kansas, Fry became interested in his state's wind energy potential when turbines began appearing in the western region of the state.

"Growing up here, I realized that even in eastern Kansas we had a large propensity for windy days, so the generally more open spaces out west held great possibility," Fry said. "Besides the local potential for wind, the buzz phrase "energy independence" and the idea of producing one's own energy on a residential and personal level piqued my interest."

A recent Kansas State University (KSU) graduate with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Fry became involved with Wind Powering America's Wind for Schools project in his senior year while taking a wind engineering course. The course was taught by Ruth Douglas Miller, associate professor in KSU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The assigned project for Fry's class was a Wind for Schools project turbine sited at the Goessel School District, but this project was different from other Wind for School projects. The district's desire for a 5-kW turbine (larger than the standard 2-kW Skystream system) presented challenges for Fry, his team, Professor Miller, and others involved.

Fry cited Professor Miller as a mentor who answered numerous questions during the class project and allowed Fry to attend various wind-related events and meetings throughout the semester, including the Kansas Renewable Energy Conference, a Kansas Corporation Commission meeting on net metering regulations for the state, and a trip to Goessel to participate in the turbine siting process.

Fry is now employed by the Kansas Corporation Commission as an energy engineer. He was hired as part of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and works on various projects, including renewable energies, smart grid technologies, distributed wind, and energy efficiency programs that the local utilities implement.

"I believe that by working in the public sector on dynamic topics like wind energy and smart grid technologies, I can provide new insight into these developing projects and questions," Fry said.

This information was last updated on April 27, 2010