U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
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Wind for Schools Affiliate Projects

Although the Wind for Schools project is supported in a limited number of states, Wind for Schools affiliate projects allow K-12 schools or state-based programs to leverage existing materials to implement activities in their areas. On this page, you will find information about affiliate projects for individual K-12 schools and for states.

Affiliate projects do not receive financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), but they receive access to technical assistance, project websites, and information.

In both cases, a key element of the affiliate projects is to install a small wind turbine at K-12 schools to be used in combination with age-appropriate, hands-on, wind-related curricula taught in science classes. The standard Wind for Schools system is further described in the Wind for Schools Project Power System Brief. State-based programs support the implementation of a Wind Applications Center at a local engineering university or college to lead efforts to implement Wind for Schools systems at multiple K-12 schools in the state.

Individual K-12 Wind for Schools Affiliate Project

With the individual K-12 affiliate project, the school installs a small wind turbine. Teacher training and hands-on curricula are implemented to bring the wind turbine into the classroom through interactive wind-related research tasks.

Project Support

As a Wind for Schools K-12 affiliate, a school's staff gains access to:

  • Project implementation documents, including interconnection specifications and foundation information
  • Hardware and software developed for the Wind for Schools system at costs equivalent to those paid by other Wind for Schools host schools
  • Limited technical assistance during the implementation of the Wind for Schools system
  • Project-sponsored teacher-training programs
  • The Wind for Schools host schools system database to support expanded educational opportunities
  • Wind for Schools environmental benefit sales process to allow the affiliate school to obtain outside funding to support the system implementation
  • The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project's curricula kits on a short-term loan basis to enable schools to complete the full NEED curricula model (as available).

Project Expectations

The following criteria apply to individual schools or school systems interested in becoming an affiliate.

A school or school system interested in joining the affiliate project is expected to incorporate the NEED Project's wind curricula into science classes and install a Skystream (or equivalent) wind turbine at the school. A compatible data logger must be installed, and the data from the wind turbine will be made available on the Wind for Schools portal so that other schools can access it for educational purposes. The schools are expected to obtain all of the funding necessary to implement the project; however, some support in obtaining funds is available through the Wind for Schools project. The school also agrees to assume responsibility for all turbine maintenance and to engage with all relevant organizations, such as the local utility or energy cooperative. Affiliate schools are also engaged in the following tasks:

  • Conduct education and outreach to the local community
  • Use specific hardware (approved as appropriate for any state incentives)
  • Report on installation(s) and share data pertaining to system costs
  • Provide turbine operational data
  • Sign an indemnity agreement between the school and NREL.

If a school is unable to install a Wind for Schools system due to a lack of available land, permitting, or wind resource, the school may become an affiliate if staff members are interested in implementing the NEED Project's wind curricula and using data from other Wind for Schools system installations.

Expected Costs

An individual system, excluding staff time to cover development, costs approximately $20,000 (this includes the turbine, tower, control package, and curricula). Operational funding for the system is not significant and involves an annual inspection and the potential for minor service-related issues. The Wind for Schools project assists in identifying funding sources but does not provide direct funding.

Statewide Wind for Schools Affiliate Project

The statewide affiliate project is designed to mirror Wind for Schools activities in other states with the following project goals:

  • Educating future wind applications personnel at universities
  • Installing Wind for Schools systems at approximately five host K-12 schools per year
  • Engaging with communities to convey the benefits and discuss the issues related to an expanded wind energy application.

Project Support

By agreeing to establish a state-based Wind for Schools affiliate project, a state project team will gain access to support services, including:

  • Project implementation documents, such as interconnection specifications and foundation information
  • Wind for Schools publications
  • Benefits of lessons learned by other states that already implemented the project
  • Hardware and software developed for the Wind for Schools system at costs equivalent to those charged to other Wind for Schools host schools
  • Limited technical assistance during the implementation of the Wind for Schools system
  • Access to project-sponsored meetings, training programs, and informational summits
  • Full access to the Wind for Schools system database to support expanded educational opportunities
  • Wind for Schools environmental benefit sales process to allow the affiliate school to obtain outside funding to support the system implementation.

Project Expectations

State-based Wind for Schools affiliate projects are expected to initiate a Wind Applications Center at a state university or college, identify funding to facilitate the identification of and implementation of Wind for Schools systems at host K-12 schools, and integrate the state participants into the national Wind for Schools project. The state is expected to obtain all funding necessary to implement the project, although some support for this process is available through the national project on a case-by-case basis. Additional requirements include:

  • Provide operational support for the Wind Application Center at a state college or university
  • Provide funding for a state facilitator to work with the Wind Application Center and K-12 host schools on project implementation
  • Perform or promote education and outreach to local communities
  • Purchase wind assessment/measurement systems to support resource assessments at schools. These systems are typically provided to the Wind Application Center and also provide an educational opportunity for students at the university or associated community colleges
  • Provide funding and other support to install a Wind for Schools system at the Wind Application Center to facilitate training and educational opportunities for Wind Application Center students
  • Implement NEED-based teacher-training program(s)
  • Purchase NEED curriculum kits for loan to K-12 host schools, typically through the Wind Application Center
  • Report installations and share data on system costs
  • Attend national Wind for Schools summits and other related meetings
  • Provide partial funding or support for wind equipment at host schools
  • Ensure that each host school activity meets the requirements as defined above for individual K-12 school projects.

Costs

A comprehensive Wind for Schools state project, including Wind Application Center, state facilitator, and initial equipment funding, costs approximately $175,000 per year for 3 years. This assumes that a small amount of the state funding, such as $8,000 to $10,000 per host school, is applied to wind turbine hardware. Typical funding would include:

Wind Application Center: $60,000/year
State facilitator: $30,000/year
Host school system funding: $50,000/year (assumes ~five systems per year)
Project oversight: $10,000/year
Meteorological towers: $25,000 (first year)
Wind for Schools teacher training: $25,000 (second year).