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Appalachian installs wind turbine on campus

Project funded in part by students

turbine_t.jpgBOONE—Installation of a 100-kilowatt, community-scale wind turbine on the Appalachian State University campus has been completed and the turbine will soon begin generating electricity that will be fed into the system operated by New River Light and Power.

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After more than 30 years, a wind turbine once again is part of the vista in the Town of Boone. The 121-foot tall tower and Northwind 100 wind turbine is located behind the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center at Appalachian State University. The community-scale wind turbine was purchased with student Renewable Energy Initiative fees, and contributions from the Senior Class of 2009 and New River Light and Power. The area’s first large-scale wind turbine was installed in 1978 on top of Howard Knob. The U.S. Department of Energy project was dismantled in 1983. (Photo by Jane Nicholson)
shaft.jpg A 121-foot tall tower is composed of three 40-foot sections that nested together like a telescope for shipping. Inside, a series of ladders provide access for maintenance of the turbine’s mechanical parts. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Cloninger, Office of Business Affairs)
wind capsule.jpg>wind capsule door.jpg Located at the top of the wind turbine tower is the nacelle, the box-like portion of the wind turbine that houses the turbine’s generator and power converter. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Cloninger, Office of Business Affairs)

The Northwind 100 turbine manufactured by Northern Power Systems of Vermont was installed by Alteris Renewables headquarted in Wilton, Conn. Installation of the turbine began June 15, which was Global Wind Day. The wind turbine is located behind the Broyhill Inn and Conference center on campus. It sits atop a 121-foot tower. Each of its three blades is 34 feet long.

The $533,000 project was funded by Appalachian students through a $5 Renewable Energy Initiative fee collected each semester. Students approved the REI fee by referendum in 2004.

New River Light and Power contributed approximately 50 percent of the project’s cost. The  Senior Class of 2009 also contributed to the project.

The wind turbine has the potential to generate approximately 145,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, roughly equivalent to the electricity needs of about 10-15 typical households in the South per year.

Crystal Simmons, student project manager for the turbine installation, said, “This is very much a student-led achievement, from the funds raised by the student body to the long, arduous conversations by REI members about the turbine project.”

“Appalachian State University and the student-led Renewable Energy Initiative on campus are setting a solid example for the next generation of energy use in North Carolina,” said Bob Chew, president of the Wind Business unit of Alteris Renewables. “The fact that the students felt strongly enough about this project to contribute funds to help make this turbine installation possible should be a source of pride for Appalachian State University.”

Other REI funded projects on campus are a photovoltaic array in front of Raley Hall and a solar thermal system that will provide hot water to Plemmons Student Union.