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Wind turbine’s weak results overpowered by other benefits

When the turbine was initially installed, it was expected to produce 6,000 kilowatt-hours per year and pay an electric rate of 13 cents per kwh. ...A more accurate estimate of how many kilowatt-hours it will produce each year is 1,000.

OXFORD — Miami University is doing its part to save the planet, one gust of wind at a time.

After the collaborative effort of an engineering class, physical facilities and the Ecology Research Center at Miami prompted the instillation of a 37-foot wind turbine this October, the University’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly have been in full force.

The turbine is located at the ERC at Miami. The main force behind the instillation began with a proposal an engineering class submitted to the Miami University Revolving Green Fund. Established in November 2009, the MURGF began with an initial $50,000 investment from the university administration to support student-sponsored projects related to sustainability.

Anthony Ferraro, energy management engineer at Miami, said there is likely $39,000 or $40,000 remaining in the fund after the installation of the turbine.

The turbine itself in addition to everything that the installation entailed cost about $22,000, Farraro said.

When the turbine was initially installed, it was expected to produce 6,000 kilowatt-hours per year and pay an electric rate of 13 cents per kwh,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

OXFORD — Miami University is doing its part to save the planet, one gust of wind at a time.

After the collaborative effort of an engineering class, physical facilities and the Ecology Research Center at Miami prompted the instillation of a 37-foot wind turbine this October, the University’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly have been in full force.

The turbine is located at the ERC at Miami. The main force behind the instillation began with a proposal an engineering class submitted to the Miami University Revolving Green Fund. Established in November 2009, the MURGF began with an initial $50,000 investment from the university administration to support student-sponsored projects related to sustainability.

Anthony Ferraro, energy management engineer at Miami, said there is likely $39,000 or $40,000 remaining in the fund after the installation of the turbine.

The turbine itself in addition to everything that the installation entailed cost about $22,000, Farraro said.

When the turbine was initially installed, it was expected to produce 6,000 kilowatt-hours per year and pay an electric rate of 13 cents per kwh, amounting to $780 annually. According to Ferraro, this estimate has not proven to be accurate.

A more accurate estimate of how many kilowatt-hours it will produce each year is 1,000, he said. That means it saves about $130 annually.

Ferraro said that the small residential scale wind turbine, which looks like a 37-foot daffodil, is able to capture winds at lower speeds. Because Southwest Ohio is not an area that produces large amounts of wind, the turbine does not produce very much power, Farraro said.

“It would do a better job in a different location,” he said.

In addition to a wind turbine, the ERC also has solar panels on its roof. From an educational standpoint, Farraro said that for students, comparing the wind turbine’s data to the solar panel’s data can be a beneficial learning tool.

“I look at it as an education tool, not a significant power producer,” Farraro said.

Other energies

Since there are more sunny days in Southwest Ohio than windy days, Farraro said solar power is more effective than wind power.

“We obviously can’t control what kind of winds we get in Southwest Ohio,” he said. “There’s a reason why you don’t see other institutions put them up in this part of the state — there’s not a lot of wind.”

One example of solar power being used in this area are the new solar panels installed in the parking lot of the Cincinnati Zoo.

And throwing a third renewable resource into the mix, Miami University is powering its two oldest residence halls, Elliott and Stoddard, with geothermal energy. Both buildings will be running on geothermal energy by the time classes start again in August.

“They will be heated and cooled through the geothermal system,” Farraro said.

Farrao said it is “absolutely” more dependable than power from wind or the sun.

“You’re not depending on wind and sunlight,” he said. “You know what the ground temperature is. Its rock solid.”

According to David Prytherch, Miami University sustainability coordinator, the turbine has served as a visible commitment that the university is thinking about doing things in a more sustainable way.

“It was a small project, but you have to start small,” Prytherch said. “It was a symbolic and practical first step toward making the campus more sustainable.”

Although the turbine will take longer to pay for itself than was initially estimated, Prytherch said the data they will get out of it will be an educational resource in the future.

“It generated excitement and a lot of new ideas and collaborations,” he said. “It may be hard to put a price tag on those things, and I know it will pay for itself in those ways.”


Source: http://www.journal-news.com...

APR 22 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21275-wind-turbine-s-weak-results-overpowered-by-other-benefits
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