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
"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 as
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 by electricity.
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.