First Georgia Public School Wind Turbine Installed: A Wind Powering America Success Story

Nov. 17, 2010

Photo of people getting ready to install a Skystream wind turbine. PIX18208

GWWG members: Mary Hallisey Hunt of Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Inst.; Rick Carson of Tenn. Valley Auth.; Towns County Project Team Leader Teresa Eldredge of TJ Schell LLC and Anna Cayce of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy gathered to view the wind turbine installation at Towns County Schools.

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Hiawassee, Georgia is no stranger to wind. So when the opportunity arose for Towns County Schools to become the first Georgia public school to install a wind turbine on campus, the board, students, and staff were eager to participate.

The wind project will be used to introduce Towns County students, other students at Internet-linked sister schools, community members, and regional policy-makers to the wide array of renewable energy applications for the northern Georgia region. The project will also benefit a renewable energy business in the region and showcase its expertise.

This project is the result of an open partnership among Towns County Schools, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Cooperative (BRMEMC), and the Georgia Wind Working Group (GWWG). "This effort is a great example of how creative partnerships can help us pursue our clean energy goals and educate our children at the same time," said project team leader Teresa Eldredge of TJ Schell, a member of the GWWG. It is funded by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority provided matching support for teacher training through the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project.

"Towns County School system is very excited about this partnership that will expose our K-12 students to the technology and science concepts surrounding the wind project," said superintendent Dr. Behrens. "Our curriculum director, Mrs. Wilson, has started training with our staff and some others around the area. We are hoping to introduce the kids in the early grades and get even more complicated material to them later on in their academic careers," he said.

Members of the Towns County Schools board of education, representatives from the BRMEMC, local media, community members, and GWWG members recently gathered to observe the installation of the 2.4-kW Skystream 3.7. The turbine site is accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and will enhance the learning experience for students, faculty, and visitors.

"Georgia has wind resources in the mountains and off the coast, so it's exciting that students at Towns County will get to see firsthand how wind is a clean, renewable, and locally available resource," said Rita Kilpatrick of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.