School district’s wind turbines up and running

March 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News


Gabrielle Russon


Sunday March 4, 2012 5:59 AM

Two 190-foot-tall wind turbines tower over the pine trees, power lines and sports fields behind
Eisenhower Middle School.

The turbines are visible from Curtice Road, where Kris Nikoncy has lived her entire life. But
Nikoncy, whose grandfather sold the surrounding farmland to Oregon City Schools, doesn’t mind.

The turbines “run so gently” she can hardly hear them, she said.

The turbines — a project in the works for several years at Oregon schools — have been up and
running since Feb. 1. A third turbine, much taller at 283 feet, is expected to be turning by early
April at Clay High School.

So far, the twin turbines have generated about 23,000 kilowatt hours for the middle school,
which requires about 45,000 kilowatt hours monthly, said Dean Sandwisch, district business

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority approved up to $3.5 million in bonds in October to pay
for the $3.3 million turbine project.

The school district’s lease for the turbines is with SUREnergy, a renewable-energy company in
Sandusky. The lease requires the district to pay $30,000 monthly to SUREnergy, but it also will
sell renewable energy credits valued at $90,000 in the first year on the open market to electric
companies, officials have said.

Before the wind turbines, electricity bills at the middle school were about $51,000

But officials have said they expect to save between $2 million and $4 million in utility bills
over the turbines’ 25-year lifetime.

Sandwisch said that there were just two days in February when the turbines couldn’t run because
the wind speed was less than 6 mph.

In the middle school, there’s a room off the main lobby where a computer monitors wind speed and
direction, and how much electricity the turbines are producing.

In a seventh-grade science classroom, miniature wind turbines made of PVC pipe were on display,
evidence of teachers bringing the turbines into their lessons.

School officials said they are looking at ways to finance other energy improvements, such as
solar roof panels at Starr and Fassett elementary schools or a biomass furnace to heat Jerusalem
Elementary School.

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