Honeywell Building Solutions and officials at Lake Region State College (LRSC) in Devils Lake, N.D. have broken ground on the construction of an on-campus wind turbine that will establish a new source of energy and revenue for the school while acting as a teaching tool for the school’s wind energy technician program.
The turbine is capable of producing 6,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year. Because the campus demands only 1,700 megawatt hours of electricity annually, LRSC will sell excess power to the Otter Tail Power Company, the school’s local utility. This additional revenue stream will help to cover turbine construction costs within 15 years, saving the school from having to increase its budget or tap into taxpayer dollars. The turbine will also act as a living laboratory for students enrolled in the school’s wind energy technician program. For the program, LRSC had previously “borrowed” turbines at nearby facilities to train wind energy technicians. This presented expensive logistical challenges—particularly in transporting instructors and students to the sites — and ultimately limited program enrollment.
Preparing students for employment in the country’s burgeoning green sector is important for technical schools like LRSC, and the on-campus turbine will strengthen its capabilities to attract and accommodate program enrollees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 3.1 million jobs, or 2.4 percent of total employment in the U.S., is associated with the production of green goods and services.
“The installation of the turbine close to campus is going to be a great training tool for our energy technician program, which is at the forefront of the growing and important green job sector,” said Dr. Doug Darling, interim president, Lake Region State College. “It’s also going to be a great marketing tool for attracting new students. We will be the only college in the tri-state area that offers a wind energy technician program with its own turbine, and we ultimately see the construction of a turbine close to campus as a way to move our training program from good to great.”
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