Green Energy Ohio announced Tuesday, April 15 that Archbold will be one of two sites in the state to receive the loan of a temporary wind test tower.
The Archbold Area School District, working in conjunction with the Pettisville Local Schools, the Village of Archbold, and Fulton County government, has been exploring the possibility of installing a large wind turbine near the high school and elementary school.
The turbine would use wind energy to generate electrical power.
In a Wednesday, April 16 meeting at Archbold High School, Kemp E. Jaycox, manager of GEO’s wind energy program, said Archbold was selected for the 2008-09 Anemometer Loan Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ohio Department of Development.
Jaycox said Archbold will receive the use of a 50-meter (164.04 feet) temporary meteorological tower.
The tower will have anemometers at 30 meters (98.43 feet), 40 meters (131.23 feet) and at the top to measure wind speed, along with instruments to determine wind direction.
Information will be sent via wire to a device that will record data on a memory card. Once a month, someone will download the information from the card, and email it to GEO.
Jaycox said that data can then be used to determine how much power a wind turbine could generate.
The tower will be installed on the northwest corner of the Archbold Evangelical Mennonite Church property, west and south of Archbold High School.
It will be erected in June, and will be in place for about a year.
Jaycox said the cost of the equipment is $16,000. He said the value of the yearlong study is about $40,000.
David Deskins, Archbold Area School District superintendent, said when he took over as superintendent in 2006, he was faced with an economic crisis. The district cut $1.5 million out of its budget.
As he was looking through the district’s expenses, he discovered electricity was one of its largest, ranging from $240,000 to $440,000 per year.
"Anything near a half-million dollars gets my attention," Deskins said.
He said he spoke with Laura Bickel, a science teacher, and discussed wind turbines, such as the four installed near Bowling Green. The turbines would also be an educational benefit for district students, he said.
Research began in January 2007, and over the next few months, local people who are experts in related areas were recruited for the district "wind team."
In March and April of 2007, Deskins said the team began making contacts. They soon determined a consultant was needed. Private donations were secured to pay for the consultant, and a study was done.
He said the first result of the study was that the most efficient way to cut electricity cost is through conservation efforts in the schools.
But the study also found a wind turbine was feasible, and that a wind study, like the Anemometer Loan Program, was needed.
Deskins said between May and December 2007, things slowed a bit, but district officials were still making contacts with political and business leaders.
In January and February, "things began to heat up," Deskins said.
There were meetings with Steve Switzer, superintendent at the Pettisville Local School District. Pettisville is considering constructing a new school building with the help of Ohio School Facility Commission money. Alternative energy sources are being considered for that project.
There were more meetings with political leaders on the state level, including Bob Taft, former Ohio governor.
The culmination of the efforts was the announcement of the loan program.
Deskins acknowledged the assistance of many, including village and county officials, and officials of the church.
He said the data collected by the wind tower will benefit more than just Archbold–it will apply to the rest of Fulton County.–posted 4.17, 3:45 pm