Wind for Schools - Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Wind for Schools program provide?
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Wind-Diesel Application Center (WiDAC) and the Renewable Energy Alaska Project help Alaska K-12 schools facilitate the procurement and installation of wind energy systems by providing:
- Wind resource analysis
- Wind turbine siting/placement
- System design technical assistance
- Utility interconnection technical assistance & guidance
- Technical assistance in acquiring required permits (which vary by jurisdiction)
- Financial assistance
- Ongoing technical assistance
The program also provides energy-related curricula and teacher training for K-12 schools across the state.
Can the school district or other local organizations apply for the program?
School districts and local organizations (i.e. Borough, tribe, city) are integral parts of the program; however, the applicant is typically the school. Any exemptions to this should and can be approved through the WfS team.
Who should to be involved in the project?
Wind for schools is a community-based project that involves numerous entities within the community and region. In addition to the school, this many involve the school district, utility, Borough, tribal government, city government, native corporation, and regional UAF campus. Community involvement will vary from community to community.
What is the curricula obligation?
The teachers involved in WfS will commit to implementing at least two out of the ten curricula options, bringing the turbine and energy education into the classroom. These options include:
- Thirty Minute Weekly Lessons (K-12)
- An Intensives Week (K-12)
- Kid Wind Design (6–12) and/or Poster Challenge (K-12)
- NEED Youth Project For Energy Achievement Contest (K-12)
- Participation in the AK WfS Essay Contest (6-12)
- Power of the Wind After-School Club (K-12)
- Hosting a guest speaker lectures series (K-12)
- Organizing a wind energy conference for interested students (6-12)
- WINDWISE (6-12)
- Organizing an energy focused science fair (K-12)
Follow the link the find out more about curricula options.
What if our school only wants to participate with the curricula and not the turbine?
Any K-12 schools can participate with the curricula only. The curricula can be accessed on the website and is available to anyone. However, if a school is interested in sending teachers to teacher training for just the curricula they will need to fund their own travel and expenses.
What sort of training is available for teachers?
Teachers will attend one of two hands-on trainings—one in early June or one in August. These trainings will provide in-depth coverage of the WfS material and an opportunity for teachers to ask program-related questions. WfS will provide ongoing trainings throughout the years through webinars and teleconferences. While these trainings are not mandatory, they will be extremely beneficial for teachers unfamiliar with energy science and wind energy. In addition, regional hubs will be established in order to offer trainings closer to home. If you are interested in providing training to regional teachers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the differences between the SkyStream 3.7 and Northwind 100 turbines?
The Skystream 3.7 is a 2.4 kW turbine that is IEC certified and approved to survive wind speeds of up to 140 mph. The Skystream is used primarily as an educational tool with the WfS program. The Northwind 100 is a 100 kW turbine and is also IEC certified. The Northwind offsets significantly more power and costs considerably more than the Skystream.
Can our school choose what kind of wind turbines to use?
Yes, it is up to each school to determine what type of turbine they would like to use for the program. However, WfS promotes the Skystream 3.7 turbines for several reasons:
- Southwest Wind Turbines offers Skystreams at a 40% discount to WfS participating schools
- The Skystream is the only small turbine that is IEC certified
- The data acquisition system for the Skystream is configured to connect to the Idaho National Laboratory
Will WfS help find funding for turbines other than the SkyStream 3.7?
WfS receives a 40% discount on the Skystream turbines, significantly reducing the overall project cost for each school. Due to the high costs associated with other turbines, Wind for Schools is unable to commit time to finding funding for other turbines types.
Will the turbines offset power at our school?
It is up to the schools to determine which type of turbine they would like to use. The turbine type and size will ultimately determine how much power is offset. However, the WfS program is primarily educational and the main purpose is to bring energy education into the classroom, not offset the schools power. The SkyStream 3.7 will offset minimal power.
How much money does it cost to participate in the program?
The cost will vary based on the location of the community, but we estimate it will cost between $14,000-$25,000 per school. This includes the costs of purchasing, transporting, and installing the turbine, as well as site costs such as foundation construction. The overall cash cost of the program can be reduced by finding local in-kind contributors for portions of the project. For example, a local construction company can donate their equipment and labor toward the foundation construction. The WfS team will assist every school in putting their project financing package together, which will involve as much community support as possible.
- 60 ft. monopole turbine ($7,000-$10,500)
- Turbine installation: 8 hrs/2 people ($1,000)
- Turbine installation equipment rental (in kind-$1000)
- Foundation ($2,000-$5,000)
- Computer for data acquisition system ($500)
- Interconnection costs (in kind-$1500)
- Shipping ($0-$2500)
Does my school need to raise all of the money for the wind turbine?
WfS recommends that school boards contribute a minimum of $1500 for each participating school. This can be either in-kind or cash. The state facilitator, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, will work with each school to create a plan to find funding for the remainder of the project costs. In addition, REAP is working to bring together statewide sponsorships which will ultimately lower project costs. However, the project funding is ultimately the responsibility of each school.
What if our community does not have a class two or above wind class?
Any school can participate in the program. For schools that have below a class two wind class, a weather station can be installed at the school, providing a similar education tool as the wind turbine.
What is the level of ongoing involvement required by the facilities manager and IT staff?
The facilities manager and IT staff are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the data acquisition system. This involvement will be minimal. WiDAC will provide ongoing technical assistance and will be the first call when and if there are technical concerns.
What level of involvement is recommended from the utility?
The utility’s involvement will vary from community to community. It may include financial and/or in-kind contributions, including labor and the use of equipment for installing the turbine and foundation. The utility’s involvement will be determined between the school and the utility.