Wind turbine installed at Penn State's Center for Sustainability

University Park, Pa. -- A 70-foot-tall wind turbine was installed Friday, July 22, at Penn State’s nine-acre Sustainability Experience Center. Serving as both a source of clean, renewable energy and a research tool, the turbine is being funded by a Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) grant awarded to Penn State’s Center for Sustainability in 2007 for development of the Hybrid Residential Energy Systems (HyRES) Laboratory.

In addition to providing renewable energy generation for the laboratory, the turbine will be used as an educational tool in the Pennsylvania Wind for Schools program. Similar wind turbine systems are planned for installation at 10 to 15 schools across the state over the next three years as a part of the program.

“Wind energy is a very exciting topic to our youth and it provides many interesting opportunities to educate in a wide variety of disciplines that often spur interest in STEM areas,” said Susan Stewart, research associate in aerospace engineering and architectural engineering at Penn State and Director of the Pennsylvania Wind for Schools program.

The turbine, a Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7, produces a peak of 2.4 kW of electricity when the wind blows above about 25 mph. The 3.7 in the product’s name indicates the rotor diameter in meters -- equivalent to 12 feet. The rotor is installed on a 70-foot tower with a motorized winch to raise and lower the tower for easy access to the turbine for demonstrations and research.

Funding for the individual turbines across Pennsylvania will be raised from grants, state, community and industry support. Each host school in the program also will receive assistance from Penn State in customizing wind energy curricula for integration into their classrooms.

“I am excited to provide this educational opportunity to the next generation,” said Stewart. “The skills they will acquire through wind energy educational activities enable understanding of the need for environmental stewardship and provide an appreciation of what it means to sustain ourselves with renewable resources.”

For more information about Penn State’s involvement in the Wind for Schools program, visit http://www.wind.psu.edu/wfs/ online.

Last Updated August 09, 2011