Alaska Wind for Schools Program
The Alaska Center for Energy and Power has partnered with the Renewable Energy Alaska Project to implement the national Wind for Schools program in Alaska. Wind for Schools was launched in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Alaska is one of 11 states with a Wind for Schools program.
Alaska Wind for Schools provides teacher trainings, helps implement hands-on curricula and holds a wind turbine design competition for students in grades 6-12. Additionally, some schools install wind turbines for collection and analysis of performance data. The Wind for Schools Program aims to raise awareness on the benefits of wind energy while simultaneously developing a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and energy-related knowledge base in Alaska’s youth.
Who Can Participate?
The program is open to any school in the state who meets the success criteria. Schools across Alaska are currently in various stages of planning. The program is highly dependent on a network of sponsors at the community and state level to both get projects in the ground and to provide long-term support.
Sherrod Elementary School, Palmer: Alaska’s first Wind for Schools turbine, a Skystream 3.7, installed in November 2009.
Coast Guard, Juneau: The U.S. Coast Guard installed a Skystream 3.7 turbine at Station Juneau in October 2010. The Coast Guard Partnership in Education program is working with Wind for Schools and the Juneau School District to provide data from the turbines and educational opportunities for students to learn about wind energy.
Mt. Edgecumbe High School, Sitka: Mt. Edgecumbe High School installed a Skystream 3.7 turbine at the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maple Moorings facility, located next to the school. The turbine was installed in December 2010 and was the second in Alaska for the Coast Guard and the third in the state for the Wind for schools in Alaska program.
Mat-Su College, Palmer: Mat-Su College installed a Skystream 3.7 turbine in the spring of 2011. The turbine is used by students in conjunction with the Occupational Endorsement Certifficate in the Renewable Energy program at the school.
Northwestern Alaska Career and Technical Center (NACTEC), Nome: NACTEC installed a Skystream 3.7 turbine on October 15, 2011. In September 2011, students from the villages of Golovin, Koyuk, Nome, Shaktoolik, and Teller participated in a Renewable Energy Course and worked alongside Bering Straits Development Company construction workers to construct the tower foundation. In October, a second class of students helped install the turbine.
Kodiak High School, Kodiak: After solving intitial citizen concerns, the Kodiak Island Borough School District installed their Skystream 3.7 wind turbine in October 2012. The USCG is a partner in this installation as it has been in several other AKWFS projects. Kodiak Electric Assocation, a pioneer in renewable energy in Alaska, assisted with the installation as did several other local sponsors.
Begich Middle School, Anchorage: After a two year process involving the first WFS municipal permitting scenario, Begich Middle School, the largest in the state, installed their turbine in Februrary 2012. The data is used in specific classroom lessons and is now on a display kiosk in the school entry way so the entire school can monitor progress.
The following schools from across the state have participated in the Alaska KidWind Competition, a wind turbine design contest:
- Howard Valentine School (Coffman Cove)
- West High School (Anchorage)
- Petersburg Elementary/Middle/High School (Petersburg)
- Kokhanok School (Kokhanok)
- Kake High School (Kake)
- Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School (Juneau)
- Northwestern Alaska Career and Technical Center (Nome)
- Juneau-Douglas High School (Juneau)
- Aurora Borealis Charter School (Kodiak)
- Mt.Edgecumbe High School (Sitka)
- St. Mary’s High School (St. Mary’s)
- Tustamena Middle School (Kasilof)
- Hoonah Middle School (Hoonah)
- Craig Middle School (Craig)
- Napaaqtugmiut School (Noatak)
Photo 1: Pinwheels and Wind Turbine at Begich Middle School Ribbon Cutting. Courtesy of Renewable Energy Alaska Project.
Photo 2: U.S. Coast Guard station in Juneau, installed in 2010. Courtesy of Kirk Hardcastle, ACEP.
Photo 3: Engineers work on installation of a wind turbine at Sherrod Elementary, Palmer, Alaska. Courtesy of Jason Meyer, ACEP.