ELYRIA – Elyria Catholic High School is looking to dive into the wave of the future by constructing a wind turbine on campus. However, the project is on hold for now because the city doesn’t have ordinances dealing with the technology.
Elyria Catholic President Andrew Krakowiak hopes to build one 155-foot turbine that would save the school $16,000 per year. Krakowiak, who lives in Seven Hills, got the idea of building a turbine when he spotted one along Interstate 480 on his way to work. He is working with SurEnergy, a company out of Sandusky, to work out the logistics.
“What really got me was I knew they were doing work on these up in Huron and in Sandusky/Perkins,” Krakowiak said. “Then one thing led to another.”
He said he hopes to find grants that will pay for the majority of the turbine, which could cost upwards of millions of dollars. The school’s current electric bill is $54,000.
“No. 1, if it can’t help in the financials in any way then you can’t make a big investment,” Krakowiak said. “We found out there’s a lot of grants and they’ll take care of that. It’ll cut our electric bill by about 30 percent.”
Krakowiak can also see an academic advantage to the turbines.
“(Lorain County Community College) has a wind turbine program,” he said. “We can tie it in with college and have our own turbine that the kids can monitor, and the community can monitor. I’m not a scientist, but I thought, ‘Wow, this would be a great learning lesson for all the kids.’”
Lastly, the turbine would act as a great piece of marketing for the school, he said.
However, Krakowiak said he will only go forward with plans to build the turbine if it’s in the best interest of the community and the school, but he can’t deny his excitement for the project. He also has to make sure state funding is available and that the city approves the construction.
“We have 16 acres,” he said. “There’s a strong possibility that we’ll put one up there. But I don’t want to build it 20 feet from someone’s house – that’s not what we’re in here for. I want it if it’s good for the community.”
The city has realized that turbines are coming, and it’s in the process of formulating an ordinance, Krakowiak said.
“We thought it was best to do some homework as they prepare the ordinance,” he said. “Instead of ramrodding it through, we want to let the city and the people who deal with these kinds of things know what’s going on.”
Elyria Building Inspector Phil Lahetta and Dan Brackenhoff, Elyria’s economic development director, did not return calls yesterday.
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