District proposes turbine for Sanfordville Elementary for energy savings, being ‘green’, By Abby Wolf
Warwick – As it looks for ways to save money on energy costs, as well developing programs that emphasize environmental sustainability, the Warwick Valley Central School District hopes to get community support for a wind turbine it hopes to site at Sanfordville Elementary School.
Board members will visit New Haven, Conn., to see a wind turbine there.
According to Schools Superintendent Dr. Raymond Bryant, the wind turbine will both reduce energy costs at Sanfordville and act as a hedge on future rising energy costs.
The turbine will also provide students and community members a “unique opportunity” to learn about renewable energy, he said.
The turbine would have a tower height of 120 feet and a blade height (width) of 150 feet. It would be placed more than 1,200 feet from the school, 270 feet from the cross-country running loop and about 1,000 feet from the nearest residence.
The school was chosen, Bryant said, “to take advantage of Sanfordville’s particularly windy site.”
Here’s how the district outlines the issues:
Besides the 1,200-foot distance from the school building, a locked, eight-foot high fence would be placed around the tower, with a locked exterior door and an interior-only ladder.
According to the district, “The turbine is designed with a direct drive system (no gears), so there is virtually no noise or vibration. The faint sound heard when standing when standing next to the unit is the sound of energy generation, with readings indicating that it is no louder than a passing car.
The school administration projects that the wind turbine would generate an estimated 130,000 KW (kilowatts) per year, “resulting in an annual 30 percent savings on Sanforville’s electric costs. Each generated kilowatt will effectively turn the school’s electric meter backwards, using a special system called “net metering.”
Warwick schools anticipate receiving more than $152,700 in incentive funds from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as nearly $400,000 in New York State building aid, for the wind energy project.
Cost to the district
No additional costs to Warwick taxpayers are expected. According to the district, the wind turbine’s net cost would be offset by “significant outside funding. In addition to NYSERDA incentive funds and New York State building aid, savings from district energy conservation projects with quicker payback periods will help fund projects with longer payback periods, like the wind turbine.
Since the wind turbine is designed as direct-drive – no gears – “very little” maintenance is needed. An 18-year maintenance agreement is included in the purchase price.
Here’s how the district answers this issue: “Sustainable energy and environmental education is an integral part of the wind turbine project. Wind and renewable energy lessons may be integrated into science and math curricula at all grade levels using the turbine’s real-time energy generation monitoring Web site, which can be viewed in classrooms at any time.”
“Elementary students can begin to learn about the concepts and possibilities of renewable energy. At the middle and high school levels, lessons and projects related to wind energy can be taught to students in Earth Science, Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, Principles of Engineering, New Vision Engineering, and other science and math classes.”
Saving green, being green
The district hopes that the wind turbine and other aspects of its energy savings program would bring green technology education to the district, as well as enable Warwick to become a leader in “green” school districts.
District officials aim to put Warwick schools “at the forefront of energy education as a model for wind energy education in the region and state.”