SPRINGFIELD – Students at Abingdon High School started a science project that ended up a lesson in Illinois politics.
The Illinois House passed legislation Tuesday that sponsor Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, said was driven by the Abingdon students.
The bill, which passed the Senate March 30, would give schools and community colleges the legal authority to form a consortium with other schools to create an electrical generating company. The legislation would allow them not only to sell the excess energy back to the local electric company, but also to apply for available grants to help pay wind turbine construction costs.
Bureau Valley School District in Bureau County already has a wind generator that saves the school district at least $70,000 a year, Moffitt said, adding that smaller schools may not be able to afford the large price tag of constructing a wind turbine.
“Maybe one turbine is big enough to do two or three small schools,” he said. “They could form together and have a viable generating company.”
Students at the Abingdon school started a science project three years ago studying wind power. They realized they had enough wind in their area to make a turbine an energy-saving alternative for the school district, but the cost was prohibitive. The students looked into the possibility of joining other schools but were told they did not have the legal authority to do so, Moffitt said.
Magie Stuart, superintendent of the Abingdon Community School District, said the legislation would make it possible for the school district along with its partners, Galesburg, Knoxville, Farmington and ROWVA school districts, Carl Sandburg College and the city of Abingdon to reopen the possibility of building a wind farm.
Moffitt said it was exciting to be a part of the project.
Senate Bill 843 passed the House unanimously with a vote of 116-0. The bill will now be sent to the governor for his signature.
By Laura Camper
of Gatehouse News Service
30 May 2007
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