MIDDLEBURY, Vermont, Posted May 25, 2005: Middlebury College
has received a $22,500 grant from the United States
Department of Energy to construct a wind turbine. The
project is part of an initiative that will assist the
State of Vermont as it explores the technology necessary
for wind-generated electricity. The Vermont Department
of Public Service (DPS) will administer the grant. The
college will provide matching funds to complete the
project, which will include collecting information on
available wind resources, offering educational outreach,
and assessing the value of net-metering for Vermont
schools. Net-metering is a technology that allows small
energy producers to feed their unused power back to
their commercial suppliers for credit on their accounts.
"This grant will help the college make progress
in accomplishing its carbon reduction goals," said
Bob Huth, vice president of administration and treasurer
of Middlebury College. "The educational opportunities
related to wind energy that the grant creates will benefit
both the college and the larger Vermont community. We're
very encouraged by it."
Once the net-metering permit has been approved by the
Vermont Public Service Board in June, the college will
hire Vermont Green Energy Systems of East Middlebury
to construct a wind turbine on the western edge of campus.
The $45,000 wind energy project is slated to begin construction
in mid-June. Upon completion in early September 2005,
the turbine will be open to the public. Area schools
will be invited to tour the turbine facility, and the
data it collects will be available for schools to include
in curricula on renewable energy.
"The installation of this wind turbine will be
part of the 40th anniversary celebration of our environmental
studies program," said Middlebury College Director
of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay. "It reflects
the college's commitment not only to environmental education
and research, but to its sustainable campus program
Waitsfield-based Northern Power Systems assisted with
the development of Middlebury College's turbine project.
To be located at the site of the campus' recycling facility,
the turbine will be connected to the college grid, offsetting
the college's use of electric power from Central Vermont
Public Service. The Middlebury College Recycling Center
will use as much of the wind-powered electricity as
it needs for operation at any given time. Electricity
not utilized by the center will be fed through the grid
and used elsewhere on campus. According to Mike Moser,
assistant director of the college's facilities management
department, the proposed wind turbine will produce more
than 15,000 kilowatt hours per year-roughly equivalent
to the annual energy consumption of a home powered entirely
Moser links the college's wind turbine project to its
carbon reduction initiative. "Every kilowatt-hour
generated by wind instead of fossil fuel prevents air
pollution and greenhouse gas emissions," he said.
"We need to be exploring this technology."
Middlebury College students participating in the wind
energy project will provide guided visits to the turbine
for local schools, and develop a Web page where data
on its wind-generated electricity will be published
and regularly updated.
According to Amy Seidl, an associate in science instruction
at the college, there is a growing interest among students
in wind technology. "My students have already begun
to define research projects that will focus on seasonal
and wind parameter differences in electricity generation,
as well as service-learning investigations of the potential
economic benefit for farmers in the Champlain Valley,"
The DPS has administered federal funds for other wind
energy projects in the state, including wind mapping
and measurement projects, a wind system for the state
at the Alburg Welcome Center, and the Vermont Environmental
Research Associates' meteorological tower on Lake Champlain.