Once again, Tippecanoe School Corp. board members are discussing a potential wind turbine that could save the district up to $7 million in utility costs over the next 25 years.
In 2010, Indianapolis-based Performance Services first approached TSC with the idea of a large turbine.
But the program, outlined in more detail at a school board work session Wednesday, has not yet received the green light from board members who questioned the potential return on investment.
After hearing from Tony Kuykendall of Performance Services, board members took no action Wednesday on the proposal. Instead, they requested that Kuykendall gather more details to illustrate the project’s return on investment.
The 900-kilowatt turbine would be placed near Harrison High School and would be 230 feet tall. Kuykendall said it would have no noise or shadow flicker impact on homes currently in the area.
Kuykendall said conditions are right for TSC to examine the possibility, considering changes made last year that qualify a facility such as Harrison for net metering, a way for a customer to offset a portion of energy costs.
“We can’t actually tie into those facilities with net metering like we can at Harrison,” Kuykendall said. “We looked at all the facilities, and Harrison was the ideal location.”
This isn’t the first time TSC has branched out into wind energy. The district operates two 20-foot turbines –one each at Cole and Mintonye elementary schools.
Both opened in 2009 and are put to both financial and educational use, providing data for classes to explore.
The proposed turbine would be larger, costing an estimated $2.5 million to install. Performance Services has installed six similar turbines at Indiana schools, including 900-kilowatt turbines at North Newton School Corp. and West Central School Corp.
Kuykendall said TSC’s turbine could be up and running by February if a contract was signed in late summer or early fall.
TSC energy director Sequoyah Bible said the district consumed more than $9 million worth of electricity in 2011. With ongoing technology initiatives, such as the one-to-one program that equips high school students with laptops, Bible said that amount will only increase.
“As our corporation grows and our use of technology – now with a technology department second to none in the state – there is a cost to that,” Bible said. “What we can do to hedge ourselves is important to do.”
In other business, Wednesday marked the final board meeting for Gary Jenkins, who is retiring as director of buildings and grounds.
Jenkins announced in December that he’d be retiring after 34 years with TSC, effective May 24. Last month, board members announced that Steve Tobias will be Jenkins’ successor.
“It has been an absolute privilege to work for TSC,” Jenkins told board members. “I think back and I’ve touched a lot of things in this corporation, and I’m very proud. Thank you.”
The district will honor Jenkins during a public reception from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 18 at the TSC administrative offices at 21 Elston Road in Lafayette.
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