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Wind Turbine Decision Delayed

The Archbold Area School Board decision to construct an electricity-generating wind turbine has been delayed again.

David Deskins, Archbold Area School District superintendent, told board members at the Monday, Oct. 18 meeting, there is “yet another glitch in timing” in paperwork for the several grants the school district is using to finance the project.

This forced the district to postpone the sale of qualifi ed school construction bonds, which are being used to finance the local share of the wind turbine project.

Deskins said the district was awaiting information from the Ohio Department of Development to finalize some of the grant funding paperwork.

While the school district has been pursuing the wind turbine project for more than three years, a final decision on whether or not to actually build the wind turbine has not been made.

September Delay

The board was scheduled to make a decision in September, after a “Buy American” clause in the grant requirements limited the choice of turbines to one manufacturer.

Because there is only one manufacturer, the district was unable to negotiate a lower price, which was expected to drive up the final cost by $100,000 to $200,000.

The Ohio Department of Development countered the problem by increasing Archbold’s grant.

In a posting on the school website, Deskins said the school district will be receiving $1.3 million in grant funding toward an estimated total cost of about $1.8 million.

The agenda for the Monday, Oct. 18 meeting included a motion to authorize Deskins and Christine Ziegler, district treasurer, “to initiate the bidding process in pursuit of the installation of a 750-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at Archbold High School.”

The agenda item was removed; no action was taken.

If constructed, the turbine will harness the energy of the wind to generate electricity, which will offset the cost of electricity from the Toledo Edison electricity distribution grid.

Any savings that result from wind energy will be used to repay the qualified school construction bonds. Once the bonds are repaid, the district will receive the full benefit of the savings.

Location, Size

Based on information presented to the Archbold Planning Commission in August, the 600- to 750-kW turbine the school district is proposing will be built at the far southwest corner of the football stadium.

Its maximum hub height (from the ground to the center of the hub of the turbine blades) would be 246 feet. At the highest point in their arc, the blades would reach 334 feet.

By comparison, the wind turbines at Bowling Green have a 257-foot hub height. Each are capable of generating 1.8 megawatts, or 1,800 kW.

Deskins told school board members the project had moved forward more in the two weeks preceding the Oct. 18 meeting than it has in months.

He said he hopes to have the turbine installed and operating within a year.–David

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