The Press Newspaper
A 900 kilowatt wind turbine will be up and running within the next two weeks at Clay High School.
The turbine will provide the school with more than 80 percent of wind energy.
A school assembly commissioning the event is planned for 1:30 p.m. in the high school gym on April 27th, according to Dennis Slotnick, the school’s science teacher.
“This project is an ambassador for everyone who seeks ways for people to work together toward a sustainable relationship with our planet’s resources and minimize our impact,” said Slotnick. “We all like to see businesses prosper and we all like to see environmentally wise stewardship. This project does both.”
The new commercial sized turbine joins a small residential turbine on campus. Two 100 kilowatt turbines at Eisenhower Middle School have been up and running since Feb. 1. “For the first month of operation, each turbine at Eisenhower saved $1,700,” said Slotnick.
“This places Oregon City schools first in Ohio to have so much energy from wind power,” Slotnick said of the addition of the commercial turbine at Clay. “There is an effort to constantly monitor wildlife impact, atmospheric emissions and carbon savings so that students, business investors and persons concerned about wildlife can all be part of our opened data base. They make decisions about their own projects based on the research.”
Fossil fuels are not used when wind power generates electricity, thus substantially lowering the district’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
Slotnick said the turbine is tall enough to see from Detroit.
“It’s 285 feet to the top of the blades,” he said.
“Part of the research is, how will people view this?” he added. “Does it look like an additional obstruction or is it looking more graceful and delightful and fun to look at?”
Slotnick said there are no plans to install additional wind turbines in the district.
“Jerusalem school does not look like it has enough electrical load to make it economically worthwhile. Fassett is a little too urban. And, really, the major electrical loads of Clay and Eisenhower Middle school are now being taken care of,” he said.
He is researching the possibility of using other sources of renewable energy, such as geothermal and solar, to save costs to the district.
Starr Elementary School will have solar panels on its rooftop this fall.
The school was chosen to receive the panels because its roof was replaced last year in anticipation of the project.
The Oregon school board last month authorized a power purchase agreement with Solar Planet, a company in Columbus. The solar panels will save the district $7,000 in utility costs annually.
“Right now, there are two areas we are researching next,” said Slotnick. “They’re still in the exploring stage: One is biomass conversion, where you take excess wood chips or yard waste, and put them into a high temperature incinerator to generate heat to turn electrical generators. We’re just starting to get a clear idea of the economics of that. It looks pretty promising, if we can get enough volume of extra wood products. They have to be good and dry and clean. The other area is we’re exploring is hydrogen power as storage for excess wind and solar at a time when wind and solar are not available.”
The power company, he explained, charges Clay based on its peak use.
“If for five minutes we go way up on our use of electrical power – let’s say everyone at the same time turns on their computers, and all the lights are on – the power company charges us the whole year for our peak demand. If we happen to be able to bank some of our wind energy in the form of hydrogen storage, we could use our hydrogen storage during our peak demand and knock off our electrical bill significantly,” said Slotnick.
“What a tremendous opportunity for our students to learn about wind energy in the field of science, and at the same time saving money,” school board member Diana Gadus said of the new turbine.