Clay turbine meets 100 percent of energy demand
Since the electrical connection on October 20, 2012, the PW 56 wind turbine at Clay High School has been generating as much energy as the campus uses.
According to a school press release, the district has saved $43,343 from the Clay turbine and two turbines at Eisenhower Middle School.
The electrical output of Clay’s 900 kilowatt turbine has provided an average campus demand of 6,036 kilowatts per day, generating between 75 percent (December 2012) and over 101 percent (February 2013) of demand. The turbine has been producing an average of 100.8 percent of the electricity needed from renewable wind power for the Clay campus during eight months of activity.
“This far exceeds our conservation estimate at 85 percent,” said Clay environmental science and biology teacher Dennis Slotnick. “Furthermore, with over 100 hours of survey for downed birds and bats, no evidence exists that our wind turbine poses a threat to wildlife.”
Last month, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) included Oregon City Schools in his Earth Day proclamation to President Barack Obama.
“Seeds planted in places such as Oregon, Ohio...are beginning to grow,” the proclamation stated, talking about the district’s partnership with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to transition from traditional electricity to wind and solar.
“And these innovative investments have paid off,” the proclamation continued, “This means less acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide going into the air...This innovation and activism marks tremendous progress toward a more sustainable environment.
“If we fail to protect our natural resources, we risk the health of citizens, the viability of our coastal areas, and the productivity of our state’s farms, forests and fisheries. We risk our long-term economic and national security. Yet we know that choosing between economic growth and environmental protections is a false choice.”
Brown met with approximately 160 Oregon City School District students and teachers, as well as Tom Susor, City of Oregon Council President.
“Oregon City School District administrators, teachers, parents – and especially students – are working to improve our environment. I am proud that Ohio is home to schools that are taking steps to protect our environment for current and future generations,” Brown said. “Schools that work to reduce environment-related health issues are doing their part to provide students with an environment where learning is the primary focus.”
Eisenhower School has an even longer track record than Clay for electrical production, having been spinning for 19 months. The two 100 kilowatt turbines were estimated to take 65 percent of the electrical load, but to date the actual production is 86 percent of the school’s needs.
“We all knew we were in a windy part of the state and good for wind energy production, but the electricity produced is exceeding all expectations,” Slotnick said. “And with zero bird and bat mortality, the data is ‘blowing away’ two myths: that turbines kill birds and that there isn’t enough wind to make it worthwhile.”
Slotnick said students and staff “can be reassured that every kilowatt of power used for lighting, computers, heating and cooling, kitchen, maintenance and administration offices is powered by non-polluting, non-greenhouse gas emitting energy that has so far proven safe for wildlife.”
To date, the CHS turbine has produced about 1.2 megawatts (1,197,396 kilowatts) and the Eisenhour turbines 461,098 kilowatts.
Other highlights from the first seven months of operation include —
• Creating energy cost-cutting, money savings for the district
• Preventing 2,394 tons of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
• Reduced sulphur dioxide.
• Reduced nitrous oxide.
• There have been no complaints about the turbine’s sound or shadows affecting residents, bike path users, or sports teams, “indicating that large wind turbines are compatible with multiple use sites,” Slotnick said.
Solar panels and school buses
Besides the Eisenhower and Clay turbines, Jerusalem and Starr schools have rooftop solar panels installed and will be connected shortly, soon to provide over 2.2 megawatts of power per year to the district.
“It is an inspiration for many of us in the Oregon Schools to be daily using electricity that it is a completely renewable non-polluting energy source,” said Slotnick. “Now with the bird and bat data coming in, we are even more confident that wind turbines are environmentally safe, even this close to the migratory pathway along Lake Erie.
The Oregon school buses are also getting greener. Oregon City Schools is receiving $22,358 from the Ohio EPA to install emission controls on 14 buses.
Retrofitting school buses reduces fine particle pollution in diesel exhaust by between 20 and 90 percent, depending on the type of control equipment installed.
Fine particles, known as particulates, can aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Children are most susceptible to this kind of air pollution because their lungs and respiratory systems are still developing.
Children in four Ohio districts will benefit from the grants awarded to install pollution control equipment on 32 buses and idle reduction technology on 45 buses as part of Ohio EPA’s Clean Diesel School Bus Grant program.
A total of $151,232 was awarded to reduce children’s exposure to pollutants in diesel exhaust. The equipment is expected to eliminate 150 pounds of fine particle pollution and more than 2,164 pounds of nitrogen oxides.
Ohio EPA established the Clean Diesel School Bus Fund in 2006 to encourage school districts to install pollution controls on diesel school buses, and use cleaner fuel to reduce air emissions and improve air quality. More than $7.7 million has been awarded to install pollution control equipment on 2,511 school buses and idle reduction equipment on 845 buses, removing more than 100 tons of pollutants from the air. The next grant application deadline is Sept. 1, 2013.
Priority is given to applicants in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards for fine particulates, and to districts that employ additional measures such as anti-idling programs to reduce emissions from school bus fleets.