Public events turns for wind turbine
More than four months after installation, the Appalachian State University Renewable Energy Institute held a ribbon-cutting for the Southeast's largest wind turbine, which sits near the Broyhill Inn & Conference Center in Boone.
Thursday's ceremony brought together student leaders, ASU officials, and builders and designers of the wind turbine, which is expected to generate enough power for 15 average-sized homes.
The blades are about 30 feet long and the tower is 120 feet high. The blades can rotate about 59 times a minute and start producing power at 7.8 miles per hour of wind speed. It has a 20-year life expectancy.
Ged Moody, director of sustainability for ASU, noted the project was a joint effort on many fronts, beginning with the university's long-standing research in alternative technology.
"We stand on the shoulders of giants," he said. "ASU has been a leader in this field for decades. Look what we've done."
Officials from Alteris Renewables and New River Light & Power were also on hand, and ASU Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Greg Lovins said the university was committed to student-led renewable energy projects.
Lovins said the student support for the project, as well as the number of partnerships, helped gain momentum for the project, which was proposed, designed and built in 16 months. He said it was "symbolic and representative" of the university's commitment to student-led renewable energy projects. "Frankly, it was a slam dunk," he said.
Clary Franko, student director for ASU REI, stressed that it was the student body that funded much of the project, voting in 2004 for a $10 annual fee on themselves to fund renewable-energy projects on the campus. Franko said a referendum on the fee passed with a 93 percent majority.
The turbine cost about $530,000, with half the money coming from the Renewable Energy Initiative, with students contributing a small fee each year for renewable resources. The other half of the funding was supplied by New River Light & Power. All electricity produced will go into the grid and be used by the closest available building, which will usually be the Broyhill Inn & Conference Center.