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Kodiak raises latest Wind for Schools turbine

Fairbanks, Alaska—The Kodiak Island School District last week installed the state’s seventh school-based wind turbine as part of the Wind for Schools program.

Local teachers, the school district, the borough government and community members have worked on the project for more than two years.

“The community really made a difference in making this happen,” said project leader and KISD career and technical coordinator Barry Altenhof. “It was gratifying to have so many people come together to make this a reality for the kids of the island.”

The Wind for Schools program is a nationwide effort that offers hands-on science education for K-12 and college students. Schools and school districts install a wind turbine and use the data, along with a national curriculum, to teach science and math concepts. College students offer technical support and build their workforce readiness skills solving hands on problems and helping schools The Alaska Center for Energy and Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks leads the Wind for Schools program in Alaska under the leadership of the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab.

The installation also highlights a partnership between the school district and the U.S. Coast Guard, which provided the turbine and technical expertise. This is the third Wind for Schools turbine the Coast Guard has worked on.

Data from the turbine will be downloaded by teachers and students and used to teach engineering, math and natural science concepts. Science teacher Jane Eisman is hoping to also use the power to augment the student greenhouse adjacent to the turbine. The program is also coupled with a new K-12 Energy Efficiency curriculum from Alaska Housing Finance Corporation that helps youths understand where their energy comes from and what steps they can take to reduce their consumption.

“With their wind, hydro and diesel hybrid power, Kodiak is widely recognized as a progressive leader in how to produce energy,” said Julie Estey, director of the Alaska Wind for Schools program. “It is inspiring to see the opportunity for Kodiak’s youths to build on that leadership and use this program as a way to study how to make smart energy decisions now and as tomorrow’s leaders.”

Other project supporters include: Kodiak Island Borough, Kodiak Electric Association, United States Coast Guard, Susitna Energy, Lynden Transport, Red Hook Construction, Belarde Custom Concrete, Local Electric, KHS construction class.

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