Wind for Schools Project
As the United States dramatically expands wind energy deployment, the industry is challenged with developing a highly-educated workforce drawing from a diverse range of scientific and technical fields. To address these issues, the Department of Energy launched the Wind for Schools project in 2005 by conducting a pilot project in Colorado that resulted in one small wind turbine installation in Walsenburg. The program has ended, but by the end of September 2013:
Wind for Schools Portal on OpenEI
While project funding is no longer available through the Department of Energy, the Department continues to make online resources available to schools and universities who participated in the program and technical resources to support students, educators, and communities interested in developing wind energy.
Visit the OpenEI Wind for Schools Portal to access data from turbines at U.S. schools, such as:
- Kilowatt-hours produced
- Utility dollars saved
- Average kilowatt-hours per year and month.
You can also compare the performance of turbines at different locations and find educational resources.
- Wind for Schools projects were supported in 11 states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia)
- More than 134 systems were installed at host schools. See a list of school wind projects, including schools that did not participate in the Wind for Schools project
- At the university level, dozens of students graduated with active involvement in the Wind Application Centers.
The Wind for Schools project goals were to:
- Equip college juniors and seniors with an education in wind energy applications
- Engage America's communities in wind energy applications, benefits, and challenges
- Introduce teachers and students to wind energy.
The Wind for Schools project aimed to install small wind turbines at rural elementary and secondary host schools while developing Wind Application Centers at higher education institutions. Teacher training and hands-on curricula were implemented at each host school to bring the wind turbine into the classroom through interactive and interschool wind-related research tasks. The students at the Wind Application Centers acted as wind energy consultants. They assisted in the assessment, design, and installation of the small wind systems at the host schools. They also participated in class work and other engineering projects in the wind energy field, preparing them to enter the wind workforce after graduation.
Wind Energy Curricula
Through the Wind for Schools project, curricula were developed and implemented at the university and K-12 levels.
At the university level, the project aimed to educate college students in wind energy applications with a focus on hands-on small wind project development through classes and field work. The Wind Application Centers developed and shared curricula, with each institution focusing on technical areas that are the strengths of the respective professors and institutions.
Providing educational opportunities at the primary and secondary level was crucial to the project's aim of developing a workforce for the future. The Wind for Schools project sponsored the National Energy Education Development Project and the KidWind Project to provide hands-on, interactive curricula that are supported through teacher training workshops in each of the states. More information about these and other curricula can be found in the Wind for Schools Project Curriculum Brief. The project also provided teacher training science kits for use in the classroom and the initiative provides links to additional teaching materials.
Wind Energy System
With education as the primary driver, the standard Wind for Schools system consisted of a SkyStream 3.7, 2.4-kilowatt wind turbine on a 70-foot guyed or 60-foot monopole tower. More information on the wind for school system can be found in the Wind for Schools Project Power System Brief.
Participants, Affiliates, and Funding
Learn more about the Wind for Schools project.
This section describes the roles and responsibilities of previous project participants.
Although the Wind for Schools project was supported in a limited number of states, it was possible for schools or even states to adopt the methodology and apply it locally. Through the Wind for Schools affiliate projects, K-12 schools or state-based projects could leverage existing materials to implement activities in their areas.
Although securing project funding in today's economy can be challenging, dozens of schools succeeded. Read examples of successful funding methods for prior Wind for Schools projects.
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