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Lake Land board to weigh future of wind turbine  

Credit:  Rob Stroud | Journal Gazette and Times-Courier | April 8, 2016 | jg-tc.com ~~

MATTOON – Lake Land College’s administration plans to recommend that the Board of Trustees consider taking down a damaged 160-foot-tall wind turbine on the main campus.

College President Josh Bullock said he plans to make this recommendation to the board on Monday as part of a status update on the campus wind turbines. This monthly board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Webb Hall 081. He said if the board ultimately chooses to take down the turbine, it will vote on this matter at a later date.

Bullock said the southernmost wind turbine of Lake Land’s two 160-foot-tall, 100-kilowatt turbines was damaged by a lightning strike last summer and has not functioned properly since then. He said the administration does not believe that making the nearly $100,000 in repairs estimated for the turbine would be cost effective.

The two 100-kilowatt turbines were installed in 2012 after Lake Land bought them from Bora Energy of Wood Dale. Bullock said these essentially customized turbines were among the first built by Bora and replacement parts are difficult to acquire or make, noting that neither of these two turbines are currently functioning.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for us financially to maintain the turbines,” Bullock said. “I think it was an extremely worthy experiment when they were installed, but they just have not performed to our expectations to this point.”

Lake Land could take down the south 100-kilowatt turbine and use its components for ongoing green technologies classes, Bullock said. He added that these classes also can continue utilizing the north turbine and two smaller, fully functioning turbines – 750 watts and 10 kilowatts. All four are adjacent to the West Building.

Bullock said the two 100-kilowatt turbines, which were made possible with federal grant funding, have not been effective at powering buildings on campus. He said Lake Land has had more success with the solar energy/photovoltaic systems that were installed in 2014 on the roofs of the Vo-Tech Building, West Building and Webb Hall.

The grant-funded photovoltaic systems have generated nearly $9,000 worth of electricity so far this year and are expected to generate a total of $50,000 to $60,000 worth in 2016, Bullock said. Lake Land plans to focus more on solar technology programs for students and eventually install more of the photovoltaic systems, he said.

“We have a lot of roof space open on our beautiful campus,” Bullock said.

Lake Land also has been pleased with the energy savings that have resulted from its geothermal heating and cooling system, Bullock said. On Monday, the board is scheduled to hear a report from the CTS energy services company that has been working with the college on wind, solar, geothermal and other energy savings projects.

The board also will be considering approving a $29,998 bid from EconoBright Technologies Inc. of Charleston to provide LED lighting for the Vo-Tech Building, which is set to be renovated this summer.

In addition, the board is slated to seat new officers for the year and seat the new student trustee – Jensyn Morrison of Cowden.

Source:  Rob Stroud | Journal Gazette and Times-Courier | April 8, 2016 | jg-tc.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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