Wind for Schools Project

Developing a future wind workforce one student at a time

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145 Small Turbines

Installed in 12 states as part of the Wind for Schools project

350,000 Careers

 Wind energy jobs if we produce 20% of our electricity by wind in 2030

 

Wind for Schools Project


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The robust wind industry growth and the broad range of skills, talents, and interests provide an enormous opportunity for the future U.S. workforce, but also a challenge to the wind industry to attract and train sufficient talent to meet the growing needs.  The Wind for Schools project was initiated in 2005 to meet this challenge.

 

Primary Goals


Improve wind energy workforce development through wind-focused deployment and educational activities

Introduce teachers and students to wind energy

Engage rural America by showcasing local wind installations and providing information about how wind energy provides economic development benefits to host communities

Inspire students to pursue careers in wind energy and equip them with skills to provide the wind industry with highly qualified candidates

Department of Energy Partnership


 

REpowering Schools participates in a private/public partnership in which states and the federal government are working together with key stakeholders in the wind industry to support wind energy educational activities at K-12 and university levels.
 
The partnership consists of three principal entities: REpowering Schools; state-based consortia; and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) working through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These organizations coordinate their efforts to effectively achieve programmatic goals.
 
In this private/public partnership, the immediate role of REpowering Schools is to work with key stakeholders in the wind industry at the national level to support wind energy educational programs. In addition to helping guide the goals and objectives of the new partnership, REpowering Schools will engage with the wind industry to align priorities with those of each State’s renewable energy educational programming needs.

 REpowering Schools will also work to form state-level consortia as their fundraising work supports expansion of existing wind-focused renewable energy educational efforts.
 

REpowering Schools coordinates with the existing Wind for Schools projects, funded by DOE through NREL, to provide technical support and develop educational tools and resources for educators and students at all levels. Based on available appropriated funding and programmatic priorities, DOE may continue to support these types of educational projects. However, to address the uncertain future of government funding, a sustainability plan has been developed to find diversified funding sources, by establishing this partnership with REpowering Schools and inviting key stakeholders from the wind industry and states to join the private/public partnership.
 
The funds raised by REpowering Schools through its work with a broad range of key stakeholders and the state-based consortia are used to expand existing or new wind energy educational activities for state educators. These activities are defined by the state educational institutions as an addition to, but separate from, the government funds provided by DOE through NREL to support coordination under this private-public partnership.

Wind for Schools States


 
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In coordination with the DOE Wind for Schools project, REpowering Schools effort coordinates with Wind for Schools states in support of three major components, the Wind Application Center, K-12 Schools, and the State Consortia.

Wind Application Centers
Each Wind for Schools state has created a Wind Application Center, hosted at a university, to lead wind energy educational programming and outreach activities at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational levels. University and K-12 students study wind energy by evaluating, installing, monitoring, and maintaining more than 140 small wind turbines installed at schools in largely rural areas. Project participants also collaborate with the KidWind Project and the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) on teacher training, curricula development, and turbine design challenges.
 
Wind Application Centers activities can include:
 
●      school project evaluation and implementation,
●      turbine troubleshooting and maintenance,
●      turbine monitoring and data collection,
●      anemometer loans,
●      university wind classes and clubs,
●      university student wind technology projects,
●      wind related research,
●      teacher training and development,
●      school wind outreach,
●      curricula development,
●      KidWind Challenges,
●      technical assistance to schools and communities.
 
There are currently 12 Wind Application Centers at the following universities:

●      Appalachian State University (NC)
●      Northern Arizona University
●      Boise State University (ID)
●      Penn State University
●      Colorado State University
●      South Dakota State University
●      James Madison University (VA)
●      University of Alaska
●      Kansas State University
●      University of Nebraska
●      Montana State University
●      Western Illinois University

It is expected that over the near-term and based on funding availability, the DOE Wind for Schools project will continue its technical assistance and strategic funding roles with the Wind Application Centers. Over time, it is expected that private funding will take over many, if not all, of the current responsibilities funded under the DOE Wind for Schools project. 

The REpowering Schools effort will uphold the concepts that are the foundation of the DOE Wind for Schools project while expanding the resources that can be made available to Wind for Schools states existing and new educational programs.

K-12 Schools


 

Currently, Wind for Schools states have enabled 248 schools to install small wind turbines at their schools through the Wind for Schools program and hundreds more schools have sent representatives to attend trainings and other events to bring wind energy concepts to their schools. The turbine installations are the highlight of a program that is focused on having students engage with wind energy on a practical hands-on level. 

With funding to states under the Department of Energy Wind for School project,  KidWind, the WACs and the National Energy Education Development Project provide curricula, educational kits, and training for teachers, but the schools are required to provide funding for the installations. 

See the Wind for Schools Open EI portal to see turbine data and other educational resources.

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State Consortia


State consortia provide oversight and support of the Wind Application Centers. The consortia are made up of in-state stakeholders including the wind industry, consultants, law firms, state agencies, green corporations and brokers, vocational schools, state clean energy foundations, advocacy organizations, state agriculture organizations, utilities, and the state Wind Application Center.

The State Consortia provide program direction to each of the Wind Application Centers via an operating committee of 4 to 7 officers.

State Consortia will have 5 primary functions:

  • To lead the in-state fundraising efforts; to maintain and increase the member roster
  • To implement directives from REpowering Schools on the Wind Application Centers goals, performance, plans, and report on state fundraising status
  • To establish governance policies and procedures
  • To coordinate with the state Wind Application Center Director in order to:
    • Establish state Wind for Schools scope and its multi-year goals and objectives
    • Review and approve the Wind Application Centers annual operating plan and budget
    • Determine annual activities, staff requirements and needs
  • To implement and maintain the in-state outreach communication effort.

Each State Consortia is an independent LLC, with a volunteer operating committee and a defined operating agreement.