Carleton to Build Wind Turbine

February 29, 2004
By Sarah Maxwell

The Carleton College Board of Trustees has approved funding for Carleton College’s purchase of a 1.65 megawatt wind turbine. The construction of the wind turbine, to be located on farmland about 1.5 miles east of campus, will begin late this summer with the turbine expected to be operational by the end of September 2004. The Northfield School District is also considering purchasing its own turbine at the same site.

Carleton’s turbine is expected to produce more than 5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, and over the life of the turbine about 100-120 million kilowatt-hours of non-pollution energy will be produced. This electricity will be sold to Xcel Energy for use on the power grid. By taking this step of purchasing a wind turbine, the College hopes to become a more environmentally sustainable campus and contribute to the sustainability of the community.

“The wind turbine is good example of utilizing the natural flows of energy in the region to best and most appropriate use,” said Richard Strong, director of facilities at Carleton.

A wind turbine produces electricity without the greenhouse gases that are produced by a coal-fired power plant. Over the 25-year life of a wind turbine, a coal-fired plant would produce 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.

A computer interface within the turbine will relay data to a computer on campus to track and display the wind speeds at each moment, the amount of energy being generated, and the capacity of the turbine. The turbine data also will be posted on a campus Web site.

Related story: Fact sheet on Carleton's wind turbine

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