December 9, 2004

Students in Danville (Vt.) don't learn about wind energy

"The windmill is not quite producing as much energy as we had hoped," said Rapoza.

In a year the wind turbine saved the school about $370.00. Compare that to a monthly electric bill for the school of $4000. One reason for the lower than expected savings: The blades were experimental and did not work well. The manufacturer is going to replace them.

"They are going to come out and replace the blades with some newer blades that will do about a third better for production," said Rapoza.

The school says every little bit helps. And more importantly than saving on the bottom line, they see the wind turbine as educational for the kids. An up close way to learn about alternative energy. It's something the students say they now think more about.

Brittany Swartzenberg is a 10th grader. "It is one of those things that you want to make sure for when your kids get older the air is clean for them."

"This is something that all of us are going to have to look at in our future," said Rapoza.

The Danville School wind energy project was just given an award by the Governor for environmental excellence in education and outreach.
So that big expensive wind turbine contributes less than 1% of the school's needs, the improvement "promises" to bring that up to 1%, and the counterfactual lesson that these brilliant devices will somehow clean up our air is rewarded as "excellent."

It appears that everyone has decided wind is the "alternative" energy source to back, even though not a single example of its making a positive difference has ever been shown. On the contrary, the lesson, as in the Danville case, is that we need an alternative to wind.