Roles and Responsibilities for Wind for Schools Participants
- School and Community
- Wind Application Center
- State Facilitator
- Department of Energy Initiative
- Local Utility or Electric Cooperative
- State Energy Office
School and Community
In order for a Wind for Schools project to succeed, many people in the school community must support the concept, including the science teacher, the school principal and administration, the district superintendent and administration, and the school board. The school provides land for the project, support for the wind turbine interconnection to the school electrical system, facilities support, financial support, and support for the project in community meetings, site permitting, and other organizational events. After the installation, the science teacher uses the wind turbine as a teaching aid in energy-related curricula. The program supplies curricula, educational kits, and training to teachers to support wind curricula implementation in the classroom. Although project financial structures vary from state to state, the schools own and are responsible for the wind turbine systems. The schools save a minimal amount of money by offsetting power generation and agree to make the turbine data public.
Wind Application Center
The Wind Application Center is implemented at a state university or college under the leadership of an interested university professor. The Wind Application Centers provide technical assistance to rural schools (wind resource and energy usage analysis, siting, permitting, land use, financials, overseeing the installation of the power and the data acquisition system, and performance data analysis). Typically students from the Wind Application Center conduct analysis and system permitting during the fall academic semester. The turbines are usually installed in the spring, often as a junior or senior academic project. This project implementation experience, combined with wind curricula offered through the Wind Application Center, helps to produce graduate engineers and systems analysts knowledgeable in the wind application process and interested in pursuing wind energy as a career.
After the 3-year implementation period, the Wind Application Center assumes the responsibilities of the state facilitator (described below) and becomes the primary repository of wind energy applications knowledge and expertise. Schools, small business owners, residential users, state policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholders use the Wind Application Center as a source of information for wind energy applications. Although the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provide technical and financial support to develop the Wind Application Center, after the implementation period the Wind Application Center has to identify independent funding sources.
This individual or organization assists Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory staff in developing the Wind for Schools project in each state. The facilitator's primary responsibility is to identify candidate K-12 host schools and support the project's development by working with the local communities and school administrators. The state facilitator is also responsible for working with the Department of Energy and the Wind Application Center to line up funding and implement each project. The facilitator's role is designed to last about 3 years, at which point the Wind Application Center assumes the facilitator responsibilities. The Department of Energy provides initial funding for the state facilitators.
Department of Energy Initiative
In each state, the Department of Energy's stakeholder engagement and outreach initiative WINDExchange provides technical and financial assistance to the Wind Application Center and state facilitator during the first few years of the project, including:
- Conducting the annual Wind Energy Applications Training Symposium
- Assisting in the analysis of Wind for School projects
- Providing analysis models and other tools to support project development
- Providing turbine installation and commissioning procedures training
- Providing wind resource assessment equipment
- Assisting in curricula development for the K-12 schools and the Wind Application Center
- Hosting students, professors, and teachers with summer projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Local Utility or Electric Cooperative
A successful Wind for Schools project usually includes involvement and support from the local electricity provider, who often provides technical expertise (in terms of installation and education) and assists in the installation of the wind turbine and associated hardware. The school and state facilitator (or the Wind Application Center after the initial years) are expected to secure the support and assistance from the local provider. Community education is one goal of the Wind for Schools project, and the local electricity provider is a critical project partner.
State Energy Office
The state energy or development office may provide technical, financial, and managerial support for the project as appropriate, generally through the Wind Application Center and state facilitator. State energy offices can also help to identify grants and other funding opportunities for Wind for Schools projects.