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Alaska's Wind for Schools program launches

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902

11/06/09

Photo caption below.
Courtesy of ACEP
Dean Pratt, Ben Green, Donel Conley and John Phillips assemble the wind blade unit for a wind turbine installed at Sherrod Elementary School in Palmer on Friday.
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Wind for Schools, a nationwide program connecting schoolchildren to green energy, got its start in Alaska on Friday with the installation of a wind turbine at Sherrod Elementary School in Palmer.

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is leading the Wind for Schools program in Alaska, along with partners Renewable Energy Alaska Project and the National Renewable Energy Lab. The program is part of the federal Department of Energy and matches elementary schools with universities. Schools host a small wind generator and implement a corresponding curriculum, while college students provide the technical knowledge and support.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Palmer residents and students as well as for the university," said ACEP director Gwen Holdmann. "The Wind for Schools program helps students develop a knowledge base and skill set in science and energy and supports workforce development and community involvement for students in elementary school through college." Sherrod Elementary's proactive approach and motivated staff made the school a natural choice to launch the program in Alaska.

"This program will provide students with a way to explore basic ideas about energy in a hands-on environment," said Mark Hoffman, principal of Sherrod Elementary. "We look forward to what the kids will take home and out into the world from this experience."

ACEP and its partners are planning to expand the program to 10 Alaska schools over the next year and are seeking funding through the state's Renewable Energy Fund.

CONTACT: Kat Keith, coordinator, at 907-590-0751 or kmkeith@alaska.edu. Julie Estey at 907-474-1144 or julie.estey@alaska.edu.

JE/11-05-09/078-10

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