Archive for Thursday, October 23, 2003

A mighty wind’s potential

District explores feasibility of wind-generated power

October 23, 2003

USD 491 is looking into a potential cost-cutting measure that is blowing in the wind.
The Board of Education agreed to have the district do a cost analysis of harnessing wind power for the schools' benefit. Superintendent Marty Kobza told the Board how some schools were using wind energy to not only power their schools' electricity but also selling the surplus as revenue.
At a conference he attended recently, Kobza said he was told Kansas was the Saudi Arabia of windpower.
Unfortunately the coffers are overflowing in southern portions of the state rather than in Eudora's neck of the woods. Kobza said it seemed unlikely a windmill on the high school property would have enough excess power to sell any surplus, he said. It was estimated it could power a large portion of the school. The wind-generated electricity could be used in conjunction with a traditional power source through a switch, so even when enough energy wasn't generated, schools would still have electricity.
Kobza said he learned some schools were using the wind-generated electrical power to teach students about renewable resources and environmentalism.
As the district explores the possibility, Kobza said in addition to a cost analysis the district would also have to look at the cost of annual maintenance and insurance costs. He said the start-up cost could be between $30,000 and $40,000 for a reconstructed 20-year-old turbine.

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