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June 10, 2012

Northwestern tapping into wind energy

Turbine to produce 2.4M kilowatts per year

(Continued)

Northwestern has the right idea, he said.

“I think this is the way of the future,” he said. “This is prime real estate for wind energy.”

Seamon said the turbine would likely go live in about a week. First, the district has to conduct tests to make sure it is in working order.

The district is hoping the turbine will produce 2.4 million kilowatts of energy each year, Seamon said.

If it does, Northwestern could see $7 million in energy savings over the turbine’s 25-year lifespan, Seamon said.

That factors in insurance costs, maintenance costs and an escalation in energy costs, Seamon said.

It doesn’t consider the cost of the project, though. When that’s factored in, the actual savings for the district is about $4.5 million.

The school corporation will fork out about $2.5 million for the turbine. It could have cost almost twice as much, though. Seamon said the federal government is paying for most of the interest.

In 2009, Northwestern got $2.3 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to offset the cost of the project.

Northwestern is the first school district in the county to tap into wind energy.

At one time, Eastern Howard School Corp. was considering a similar wind turbine. Officials scrapped the project in March after opponents gathered 100 certified signatures against it.

In December, Southeastern School Corp. in Cass County announced it was considering installing a wind turbine, too. The superintendent said the district was in “very preliminary” talks with an Indianapolis company.

He said by December 2012, Southeastern would decide whether to substantially invest in the project.

• Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8585 or lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com.

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