FARMINGTON , Minn. (December 18, 2007) — On Dec. 18, the School of Environmental Studies dedicated a renewable energy project that will generate learning opportunities for years.
The project, which involved students in planning and development, culminated in a 20-kilowatt wind turbine and two 1-kw solar arrays on site at the School of Environmental Studies . The school will benefit from the power generated as well as the educational opportunities it presents.
Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamman-Roland thanked everyone involved for making the project a reality. Dakota Electric Association’s CEO Greg Miller talked about the project’s ability to make people more conscious of renewable energy.
“We wanted to set a tone for the community because everyone will need to be part of conservation efforts on a go-forward basis,” Miller said. “This renewable energy project is a project the entire school district will benefit from.”
Dave Winkelman of Winkelman’s Environmentally Responsible Construction, Brainerd, discussed how electricity is generated from wind, and students, Christopher Anderson, Robert Preston and Jacob Wagner, who were seniors at the School of Environmental Studies last year and involved with the project from the beginning, described their involvement and interest in renewable energy.
Following the presentations, a ceremonially ribbon cutting and a special “switching on” of the wind turbine and solar panels took place outside. A Dakota Electric powerline specialist using a special 6-foot insulated tool snapped a high-power fuse in place to bring the generation project to life while more than 400 students and visitors cheered and waved pinwheels.
Displays with real-time information and historical data make this project a valuable learning tool for the school, and on-site signage allows the project to educate the public as well. The project’s small on-site building showcases a handful of sustainable building design elements, allowing visitors to not only learn about generating renewable energy but also conserving energy. The building interior and exterior is illuminated with light emitting diodes (LEDs) and is believed to be the first LED streetlight in the state.
The installation process also created a great learning opportunity for Dakota Electric employees frequently involved with interconnection and renewable energy projects. As a bonus, the wind turbine tower, which stands 160 feet, will assist in service reliability by doubling as a communications tower for Dakota Electric.
The project was privately funded and came together through the work and support of the following organizations: Dakota Electric Association, Great River Energy, Apple Valley Ready Mix, CNH Architects, NuForm Graphics, Trillium Development, Ulteig Engineers, NorthTek, K.A.Witt, Winkelman’s Environmentally Responsible Construction, District 196, the city of Apple Valley and students and staff at the School of Environmental Studies .
A member-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 99,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Partner, serves its member/owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.