Reading the story in the Grand Island Independent this morning got me to thinking. I am not electrical engineer...or even an electrician....but if my grade school math serves me correctly the 1.8 kilowatts of power that will be generated by the "Loup City School Turbine" is only enough power to light up 18 - 100 watt light bulbs at a time...which totals up to be about enough lights to light one average classroom....if the wind is blowing. Of course if they use incandescents...they would see some slight benefit from the extra heat they would generate during those cold Loup City winters. I will leave the btu benefits to the heating experts.
Now maybe their focus is just directed toward the learning benefits...but between you and me...using $8,800 in stimulus money (hint: stimulus money = what the students will be paying back in taxes for the rest of their lives after they graduate and land a real job.) and $1500 in taxpayer funded "school dollars"...is an insult to the U.S. taxpayer...especially when you factor in all the other schools across the nation that will also have to "have one." Now we're talking real money kids. They would be better off...in several ways...by providing each of the students in that one single classroom a stationary bicycle with a power generator attached.
Maybe the students will also learn that the fledgling wind industry in it's current state is a terribly poor investment that is already heavily subsidized by taxpayers that will eventually be subsidized even more by "rate" payers. Or maybe they will learn that they have to shut off their lights so they can use one or two laptops in their same one classroom (how many lumen does a laptop put out?) Or how quickly it will require costly maintenance or how in an instant a lightning bolt can put them completely out of business...or how they will be left in the dark when the wind hasn't blown for two or three days. Yes...I predict it will be a total and costly learning experience. Then again you always hear that experience is the best teacher.
Here's a heads-up for LCPS administrators...if the students line up to use the classroom microwave to heat their lunchtime Hot Pockets in the dark...when the wind is blowing...the school district better plan on extending the lunch hour. If the wind isn't blowing...they will have to fall back on the evil coal industry for lunch. Yep...I love it when our tax dollars...the tax dollars of our children...their children...and the children of their children go to work for us.
Hmm...I wonder if the kids have done their homework on nuclear energy? I'm almost sure their teachers haven't covered nuclear energy in the same positive nature they didn't present the negatives of wind generation in...when the wind was blowing.