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Archbold Isn’t The Only School Studying Wind Energy Benefits




Archbold may be one of the few school districts in the nation looking at a wind turbine, but it’s not the only one.

The Warrensburg-Latham School District in Warrensburg, Ill., has had a wind test tower similar to Archbold’s in place since March.

Emett Aurby, W-L school district superintendent, said so far, the wind data their tower has generated looks good.

“On a scale of one to 10, a three is required. Right now, we’re at a seven,” he said.

Deregulation

Many states, including Ohio and Illinois, deregulated their electric utilities with the idea that electricity costs would become cheaper. During the change over from regulated to deregulated utilities, electricity rates were frozen.

In Illinois, when the changeover period expired, electric rates jumped drastically. In Ohio, state legislators and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio are looking to prevent a similar jump in rates here.

Aurby said the Warrensburg- Latham district has worked to cut its energy usage by twothirds, but its electric bill remains the same.

He said two school districts in Northern Illinois were looking into wind power, so he took the W-L school board to the Chicago area to see what other districts had done.

In the last two years, he said grant funds had become available for wind studies, so the district applied for, and received, money for a wind test tower.

Turbine

If wind energy proves feasible, Aurby said the district is looking into partnering with a commercial firm to build a 1.25-megawatt wind turbine on school property.

If the wind turbine makes more electricity than the school district uses, Illinois law allows the excess to be returned to the power distribution grid and sold back to the local electric company. The private firm would keep all or part of whatever is sold back.

Ohio law currently does not allow wind turbine users to sell power back to the utility.

“We’re planning for future needs,” Aurby said.

The district is looking at a new building addition, which will use geothermal heat.

“It used to be cheap to go with (natural) gas,” he said, but that’s no longer true. – David Pugh, WLHS Class of 1976


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