Wind for Schools Participant Roles and Responsibilities

Many people are involved in getting a Wind for Schools project off the ground and continuing the project through the years.

School and Community

In order for a Wind for Schools project to succeed, many people in the school community must support the concept, including the science teacher, the school principal and administration, the district superintendent and administration, and the school board. The school provides land for the project, an interconnection between the wind turbine and the school electrical system, facilities support, financial support, and project support in community meetings, site permitting, and other organizational events.

After the installation, the science teacher uses the wind turbine as a teaching aid in energy-related curricula. The program supplies curricula, educational kits, and training to teachers to support wind curricula implementation in the classroom. Although project financial structures vary from state to state, the schools own and are responsible for the wind turbine systems. The schools save a minimal amount of money by offsetting power generation and agree to make the turbine data public.

Wind Application Center

State universities or colleges implement a Wind Application Center under the leadership of an interested university professor. The Wind Application Centers oversee the installation of the power and data acquisition systems and provide technical assistance to rural schools, including wind resource and energy usage analysis, siting, permitting, land use, financials, and performance data analysis.

Typically, students from the Wind Application Center conduct analysis and system permitting during the fall academic semester. The turbines are usually installed in the spring, often as a junior or senior academic project. This project implementation experience, combined with wind curricula offered through the Wind Application Center, helps to produce graduate engineers and systems analysts knowledgeable in the wind application process and interested in pursuing wind energy as a career. Schools, small business owners, residential users, state policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholders use the Wind Application Center as a source of information for wind energy applications.

State Facilitator

This individual or organization assists U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory staff in developing the Wind for Schools project in each state. The facilitator’s primary responsibility is to identify candidate K-12 host schools and support project development by working with the local communities and school administrators. The state facilitator also works with the Energy Department and the Wind Application Center to line up funding and implement each project.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides technical and financial assistance to the Wind Application Centers and state facilitators in each state supported by the Energy Department. Activities include:

  • Funding state facilitators, who assist in the analysis of Wind for School projects and provide analysis models and other tools to support project development
  • Funding Wind Application Centers, which provide turbine installation and commissioning procedures training
  • Assisting in curricula development and updating for the K-12 schools and the Wind Application Centers
  • Supporting member schools throughout the Wind Application Center regions with KidWind kits and National Energy Education Development Project curricula materials
  • Developing a diversified funding plan to help expand the Wind for Schools program to additional states.

Local Utility or Electric Cooperative

A successful Wind for Schools project usually includes involvement and support from the local electricity provider, who often provides technical expertise (in terms of installation and education) and assists in the installation of the wind turbine and associated hardware. The school and state facilitator or the Wind Application Center are expected to secure the support and assistance from the local provider. Community education is one goal of the Wind for Schools project, and the local electricity provider is a critical project partner.

State Energy Office

The state energy or development office may provide technical, financial, and managerial support for the project as appropriate, generally through the Wind Application Center and state facilitator. State energy offices can also help to identify grants and other funding opportunities for Wind for Schools projects.