Extra Wind Turbine Aids Alaska School

Mount Edgecumbe High School, on Japonski Island in Sitka, Alaska, sits next to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Maple Moorings facility. That turned out to be a really good place to be when the Coast Guard found out it couldn’t use all three of the turbines it had intended to install at a station in Juneau.

The extra turbine – a Skystream 3.7 – was recently installed at the school as part of the federally backed Wind for Schools program, the U.S. Department of Energy announced in a press release. The project is providing kids at the school a hands-on opportunity to learn about science and energy, and also giving the Coast Guard – which offered to allow the kids to use the turbine through Wind for Schools, according to the Sitka Daily Sentinel – a source of green energy and insight into its own wind-power possibilities.

Alaska Turbine

image via REAP/Matt Hunter

The turbine is the second in Alaska for the Coast Guard and the third in the state for the growing Wind for Schools project. At Mount Edgecumbe, math and physics teacher Matt Hunter was the driving force behind the project, which started after he saw a newspaper ad for Wind for Schools in March.

“The really cool thing is there are more than 90 commercial-scale wind turbines currently generating power in Alaska villages,” Hunter said in the press release. “These students will gain experience with wind power that could lead to real job opportunities in their own villages maintaining, installing, and operating those systems.”

In addition to getting to use of the Coast Guard’s $8,000 turbine, the Edgecumbe project was aided by several donations, including $4,000 from the high school itself and $5,000 from the City of Sitka Electrical Department.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.