students learn about renewable energy
Nearly 100 fourth graders from South Ripley
Elementary School were recently able to see what they had been
learning about when they took a field trip to Southeastern Indiana
The day was windy, which is exactly what will be needed for the
60' wind turbine that was erected in the front yard of the electric
cooperative on Buckeye Street in Osgood.
Director of Office Services, Barry Lauber, explained the project
actually began last spring. Lauber and his daughter, Ashlee Miller,
a fourth grade teacher at South Ripley jointly wrote a grant with
the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for $500 to
bring the concept of renewable energy, such as wind and solar,
into her classroom.
The students were able to study data surrounding the green
theme, write reports and finally see a wind turbine in action
Hoosier Energy REC a company that generates and transmits power
to Southeastern Indiana REMC, worked together with them on the
turbine project and granted REMC $30,000 to offset the cost of
the wind turbine.
Lauber said the goal with the project is to educate and provide
accurate data to people who are interested in this type of renewable
energy. This visual turbine at 60' tall with 15' blades weighing
nearly a ton is intended to provide such data.
Any kilowatt hours produced by the wind turbine will go to power
the digital electronic sign in the front yard of the REMC facility.
On that day it read, Welcome South Ripley Fourth Graders
for their field trip.
The down side is in this area there is not enough sustainable
wind. There needs to be 10-12 mph sustained winds to turn the
blades. In Johnson County, after a three month study, their turbine
had a day high of 18 kilowatt hours generated, with most days
producing little or no kilowatts at all.
Based on the data that we have received, it would not be
economically feasible to purchase a wind turbine like the one
we erected at our office with the expectation that it would produce
enough kilowatts in a month to meet the average daily energy consumption
of 50 to 70 kilowatts needed for lights, electrical appliances,
etc, Lauber told The Versailles Republican.
Of course, there are areas that are more windy than Ripley County
where the wind turbines do make a greater impact. Lauber said
Benton County, north of Lafayette, is one such place.
Soon you will be able to track the progress and view the data
of the newly installed turbine at Osgood by going online at www.seiremc.com
according to Lauber.
We want our customers to make good, informed decisions before
purchasing Lauber told The Versailles Republican. Some companies
are promoting the wind turbines to the general public telling
them the wind turbines will produce enough energy in a month to
meet their electric needs and they can sell the excess generated
kilowatts back to the utility.
Lauber says in some situations that may be true, but the general
public is encouraged to look at the data for this geographical
area and the initial cost of the installation and turbines themselves
before making this substantial investment.
Of course, there are much larger wind turbines available, which
come with a heftier price tag.
Lauber thanked Hoosier Energy, particularly the Frank Schmidt
crew, who came out for the field trip and brought their digger
truck and a 90' two-man bucket truck for the project. Earlier
in the month they had dug the base that was 3x10' deep bolstered
with concrete and rebar for the turbine to rest on.
The field trip was educational for the students as it brought
to life what they had been studying in the classroom. They were
able to see the massive blades up close and even gently touch
them. They saw staff from Morton Solar and Wind, Evansville, help
get their product ready to be erected.
The final part was seeing the 60' tall turbine go up, up, up and
be set into place.
Oh, there was more. Excited cheering from the students came as
Ms. Susan Underwood, another fourth grade teacher, agreed to be
lifted high into the air in a bucket to inspect the product and
take aerial views of the classes.
The students finished their field trip by being treated to snacks
in the Southeastern REMC training facility where they also received
information packets and T-shirts.
The entire project was about education with the students being
the first to experience it.
For more information on renewable energy alternatives and the
wind turbine you can visit REMC or go online at www.seiremc.com.
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Barry Lauber, pictured second from left, director of
office services at Southeastern Indiana REMC, Osgood, explains
to the fourth graders from South Ripley Elementary about
the blades on the wind turbine that was recently installed
at the Osgood facility.