ARCHBOLD, Ohio — When the Archbold and Pettisville school districts brainstormed ways to reduce their electricity bills during the mid-2000s, they arrived at a common solution: wind power.
Students, teachers, and school officials celebrated Wednesday the completion and operation of identical 750-kilowatt wind turbines at each community’s main school complex with back-to-back dedication ceremonies that, in part, recognized the two districts’ cooperative effort
In Pettisville, the wind turbine is part of an effort to make the district’s K-12 school complex a “net-zero” energy consumer, with most of its needs met by the turbine, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling. The district uses some natural gas and, on calm days, has consumed some electricity from the Toledo Edison grid, Mr. Switzer said, but on windier days it has been a net provider of electricity to the utility. Generation starts when the wind reaches 7 miles per hour and is maximized at 26 mph.
Both turbines were heavily funded by federal “stimulus” grants — funding that didn’t exist when Pettisville and Archbold began exploring their wind-turbine possibilities in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
More than half the Pettisville project’s $2,111,280 cost came from American Recovery and Revitalization Act funds, as did most of Archbold’s $1.8 million outlay.
Mr. Rex said the Archbold turbine is expected to provide about 64 percent of the electricity the district’s neighboring high school and elementary school consume, and district officials hope to get that up to 74 percent. So far, the turbine has cut the district’s power bill by about $9,000 monthly, he said.
Eliot Hartzler, a Pettisville High junior who announced the school complex’s new “gold” rating from the U.S. Green Building Council during the ceremony, called the turbine “a great symbolism of how the community can work together and be a great school as well.” Young Hartzler said the turbine blades’ whooshing is audible from his family’s house a block away, “but you definitely get used to it — it’s in the background now.”
What do you think about wind power, generally? I see more and more windmills around here on my work rounds in rural areas. Archbold was originally settled by Mennonites and it is still the most buttoned-up, tidy place you are likely to see anywhere.