Metamora, Ill. —
Metamora Township High School has not entered into an agreement to buy a wind turbine.
But, the school district has entered into an agreement to look at the possibility.
On May 19, PNE WIND announced that it had “entered into an agreement with MTHS to develop a wind energy facility for the benefit of the school.”
MTHS Superintendent Ken Maurer, said, however, the district has only entered into an agreement to look at the possibility.
The company said it expected the wind turbine for the school to be operational in 2012.
“Metamora Township High School has been evaluating wind energy since 2007 as a means of reducing the school’s cost of electricity and providing a learning opportunity for students and the local community. The project would be the first in Woodford County,” the company said in its press release.
“We have been looking at the opportunity to build wind energy at the school for several years, and we expect that PNE can help us achieve that goal,” said Maurer. “Renewable energy provides the school a unique opportunity to both save taxpayers money and provide a learning tool in a world with increasingly complex energy challenges.”
“We hope to provide the school with economies of scale and expertise in wind development that will push this project to the finish line,” said Kelly Lloyd, general manager of PNE WIND USA. PNE is also developing a 120MW wind project in nearby Tazewell County.
Maurer said the project could run as high as $3 million.
“They will find out the costs and we’ll see if it is feasible,” Maurer said. “I could never find a decent payback for wind power.”
Maurer said the district could sell Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance the cost if the project is deemed feasible. Maurer said to be considered economically feasible the project has to be paid off in 10 years. Maurer said if the turbine could be paid off in 10 years and generate enough electricity to power the school, or even more than needed so it can be sold back, the project is feasible.
“Can we make all that happen? I don’t know,” Maurer said.
Maurer said since it was unlikely the school district could get an ordinance passed for this through the county board, they went to the Village of Metamora. The village approved an ordinance covering this. The village said it did not want a wind turbine within the village limits. So, the project is approved for building the turbine at the water treatment plant, south of the village, if the school district goes forward with the project, Maurer said. The district would have to pay a fee to locate the turbine there.
“This is not a done deal,” Maurer said.
Farnsworth Group is providing engineering services for the project.