The city’s public school board is abandoning its plan to install a 42.7 metre-high wind turbine in a school ground because of public concerns.
When the Calgary Board of Education unveiled its proposal for the $290,000 machine at Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School during a public meeting last week, area residents complained they had not been adequately consulted.
While officials said the noise from the nine-metre-long blades would not be audible in homes that are as little as 130 metres away from the planned turbine site, CBE spokesman Richard Peter said in a phone message that the board listened to the feedback from neighbours in the nearby Canyon Meadows and Southwood subdivisions and decided not to proceed.
The CBE had initially claimed the electricity produced by the 50 kW generator would cover the cost of the machine within twenty years. Later, they said the turbine was part of $15.5 million in energy saving upgrades to 33 schools – including more efficient light and heating systems – that would pay back within two decades.
Renewable energy experts questioned whether the turbine would ever pay for itself, and suggested the suburban location was unlikely to have enough wind for the machine to operate efficiently.
CBE officials had also said the turbine would provide students an opportunity to learn about renewable energy.
But Doug Wood, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Calgary, said the board would be wiser to purchase a dozen demonstration units – similar to the turbine installed two years ago at Olympic Heights School – for the same price of a commercial-scale machine, if education was the primary aim of the project.
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