In Iowa, the Eldora-New Providence Schoolput in their 750kW NEG Micon wind turbine. The superintendent, Bill Grove reported that he expects the school to save $10,000 to $20,000 in addition to paying it’s loan payments over a 10 year loan period. As soon as the turbine is paid off, the school’s savings could increase tenfold. The turbine is expected to produce approximately 1.5 million kWh per year. Since the school uses a little less than 1 million kWh, it expects the excess power to bring income to use for educational programs.
Others expect the project to pay for itself in approximately seven years. Analysis indicates the school can expect to earn a return on its investment of 13%. The electricity from the wind turbine is considered “inflation proof,” so if the cost of electricity rises, thus do the economic benefits from making such a smart decision.
The financing these schools receive includes some income from a federal program called the Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI). The REPI was designed for incentive, so public entities that are not eligible for the federal wind energy production tax credit can still get help for wind energy. Payments from REPI are uncertain, however, because the fund relies on annual Congressional appropriations. The economics of a wind project is a great price for the electricity the turbine produces.
In most of the successful school wind projects, the local utility “net meters” the output. With net metering, in months when the turbine produces more than the school uses, that excess value is banked with the utility to offset bills when the school needs more than the turbine produces. But, only Iowa and Ohio currently allow net metering without a size limitation on the turbine. MidAmerican Utility in Iowa has successfully applied to the Iowa Utilities Board to limit the capacity for net metering in its service territory to 500-kW, and other utilities are following suit. In lieu of net metering for large turbines, higher buy-back rates for non-profit entities could be a solution.
Six schools in Iowa have wind turbines in operation near their campuses: Sentral School in Fenton has a 65-kW Windmatic turbine, Nevada High School in Story County has one 250-kW Wind World turbine; Clay Central/Everly Community School District in Royal has a 95-kW turbine; Akron-Westfield installed a 600-kW Vestas turbine in 1999; and Clarion-Goldfield High School in Wright County installed a 50-kW AOC turbine in 2002.
If you are interested in starting a wind project for your acreage, school district, or local government, contact us at WindEnergy7.
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