Rogers Celebrates New Wind Turbine

June 01, 2009 | Lisa Krueger

Nearly 100 students, including about 20 first- and second-graders at Rogers Adventist Elementary in College Place, Wash., came to school on Thursday, March 12, shovels in hand, ready to dig and prepare the hard, frozen ground for a residential-scale wind turbine. On Friday, students had another chance to be involved when they signed the top of the seven-and-a-half ton concrete base before it was lowered into the ground.

The 53-foot turbine, located just behind the school, will be used to generate some of the school’s power, roughly 4,000 kWhs a year. However, “for us, it’s not to pay the power bills, it’s to teach the kids about renewable energy,” says Tonya Wessman, RAS first- and second-grade teacher.

The turbine is the first of its kind in the city and was made possible through a grant from Columbia Rural Electric Association who approached Wessman last fall about this project. The school already has solar panels, which were also partially funded by REA two years ago. “We thought of Rogers because of Tonya’s work,” says REA's Scott Peters. Peters says they will observe how the wind turbine works for Rogers and may launch similar projects at other schools in the area.

Wessman says, “Children are very excited to learn about the environment. Projects like this help them to be knowledgeable about issues like renewable energy and natural resources. Perhaps they will find new and better solutions someday.”