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

The Wind for Schools project ended on September 30, 2013. Although the Wind for Schools project was supported in a limited number of states, Wind for Schools affiliate projects allowed 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 past affiliate projects for individual K-12 schools and for states.

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

In both cases, a key element of the affiliate projects was 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 supported 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 installed a small wind turbine and teacher training and hands-on curricula were 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 gained 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

While the Wind for Schools affiliate program is no longer active, the following criteria were expected of individual schools or school systems that were interested in becoming an affiliate program. A school or school system interested in joining the affiliate project would be 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 website so that other schools can access it for educational purposes. The schools would be expected to obtain all of the funding necessary to implement the project; however, some support in obtaining funds would be available through the Wind for Schools project. The school(s) would also agree to assume responsibility for all turbine maintenance and to engage with all relevant organizations such as the local utility or energy cooperative that would support such maintenance. Schools would also be 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 the development costs, cost approximately $20,000 (this included the turbine, tower, control package, and curricula). Operational funding for the system was not significant and involved an annual inspection and the potential for minor service-related issues. The Wind for Schools project assisted in identifying funding sources but did not provide direct funding.

Statewide Wind for Schools Affiliate Project

The statewide affiliate project was designed to mirror Wind for Schools activities in other states. This included the implementation of a Wind Application Center at a state-based university, the creation of a state facilitator position (if needed), and the funding of related project elements. The project goals would reflect those of the existing Wind for Schools project, including:

  • 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 would gain access to a broad array of 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 were 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 was expected to obtain all funding necessary to implement the project, although some support for this process was available through the national project on a case-by-case basis. Additional requirements included:

  • 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 fully comprehensive Wind for Schools state project including Wind Application Center, state facilitator, and initial equipment funding cost approximately $175,000 per year for 3 years. This assumed that a small amount of the state funding, such as $8,000 to $10,000 per host school, would be 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)