ECE - Nebraska Wind Applications Center

Research: Wind for Schools

- Current Site: Link
- Contact: Jerry Hudgins

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Powering America program sponsors the Wind for Schools (WfS) Project to raise awareness in rural America about the benefits of wind energy, while simultaneously developing a wind energy knowledge base in the U.S. to educate future leaders of our communities about the importance of renewable energy.

The three primary project goals of the Wind for Schools Project are to:
  • Engage rural school teachers and students in wind energy education
  • Equip college students in wind energy applications and education to provide interested and equipped engineers for the growing U.S. wind industry
  • Introduce wind energy to rural communities, initiating a discussion of wind energy’s benefits and challenges.

Project Expectations

A school or school system interested in joining the affiliate project is expected to incorporate the NEED Project's wind curricula into science classes and install a Skystream (or equivalent) wind turbine at the school. A Wind for Schools-compatible data logger must be installed, and the data from the wind turbine will be made available on the Wind for Schools Web site so other schools can access it for educational purposes. The schools would be expected to obtain all of the funding necessary to implement the project; however, some support in obtaining funds would be available through the Wind for Schools project. The school(s) would also agree to assume responsibility for all turbine maintenance and to engage with all relevant organizations such as the local utility or energy cooperative that would support such maintenance. Schools would also be engaged in the following tasks:
  • Conduct education and outreach to the local community
  • Use specific hardware (approved as appropriate for any state incentives)
  • Report on installation(s) and share data pertaining to system costs
  • Provide turbine operational data
  • Sign an indemnity agreement between the school and NREL.
If a school is unable to install a Wind for Schools system due to a lack of available land, permitting, or wind resource, the schools may become an affiliate if staff members are interested in implementing the NEED Project's wind curricula and using data from other Wind for Schools system installations.

Expected Costs

An individual system, excluding staff time to cover the development costs, is approximately $20,000 (this includes the turbine, tower, control package, and curricula). Operational funding for the system is not expected to be significant and would likely involve an annual inspection and the potential for minor service-related issues. The Wind for Schools project can assist in identifying funding sources but will not provide direct funding.

Utility Partners

Industry Sponsors

Project Support

Although the DOE's Wind for Schools project will not provide monetary support to an affiliate K-12 project, it does provide support in other areas. As a Wind for Schools K-12 affiliate, a school's staff will gain access to:
  • Project implementation documents, including interconnection specifications and foundation information
  • Hardware and software developed for the Wind for Schools system at costs equivalent to those paid by other Wind for Schools host schools
  • Limited technical assistance during implementation of the Wind for Schools system
  • Access to project-sponsored teacher-training programs
  • Full access to the Wind for Schools host schools system database to support expanded educational opportunities
  • Wind for Schools environmental benefit sales process to allow the affiliate school to obtain outside funding to support the system implementation
  • Access to the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project's curricula kits on a short-term loan basis to enable schools to complete the full NEED curricula model (as available)
  • The Wind for School logo to be used in publications.

Contact Information

  • For information about the Wind for Schools project or grants, please contact: 
    Dr. Jerry Hudgins, 
    Director of the Nebraska Wind Applications Center, 402-472-3771,
    Joel Jacobs, 
    Associate Director of the Nebraska Wind Applications Center, 402-472-3771, 
    Dan McGuire, 
    Wind for Schools Program Facilitator,