Skip to main content.

CLIF Blog

Nov. 12, 2012
A School-owned Wind Turbine Generates Renewable Energy
By Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship, Clif Bar & Company

We take climate change seriously at Clif Bar & Company. As one part of our climate strategy, we partner with NativeEnergy to help build new sources of renewable energy. Since 2003 we've invested in more than 30 renewable energy projects, including the first Native American-owned wind turbines in South Dakota and a large-scale wind farm in Greensburg, Kansas, a town that rebuilt green after being destroyed by a massive tornado. We’re especially excited about our recent support of school-based wind turbines in Indiana.

This year I visited the Hoosier state’s first school-owned wind turbine—one that our carbon offset investments helped build. I was thrilled to see firsthand the benefit renewable energy projects can have not only on a local school economy but also in making hands-on science education more tangible and relevant.

Union City Wind Turbine Image


I visited Union City High School not only to see the wind turbine but to meet John Zakelj, the visionary science teacher who inspired the project. A few years earlier John built a small-scale solar array and wind turbine at the high school as way of bringing science and math to life for his students. The positive energy from that work moved beyond John’s classroom, generating interest in wind by the Randolph Eastern School Corporation and town of Union City.

With the promise of revenue from carbon credits and electricity sales, the community decided to construct two 330-foot, two-blade turbines—one for the Randolph Eastern School Corporation and the other for Union City. Each 1 megawatt turbine is estimated to produce over 2,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, equivalent to powering 250 homes per year. The purchase of Help Build™ carbon offsets by companies like Clif Bar provides the hurdle funding that makes these projects financially viable.

Beyond the green energy generated by the turbines, I found extra benefits in the enthusiasm for renewable energy being generated among both students and teachers. Some Union City kids now see wind energy as a potential career path, an encouraging vision for a town that has experienced rough economic times after its manufacturing base declined in the 1980s.

The renewable energy focus also inspired the creation of new curricula in the elementary, middle and high schools. According to John, one mother said: “My son never liked to go to school before, and now he likes going every day because of the renewable energy projects. I asked him why. He said ‘because it’s relevant.’”

We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the development of these projects and are excited to know that three more Indiana schools are currently installing wind turbines.
Posted by:
Guest Starring
Category:
Sustainability
Comments

More Topics

Blog Contributors


RSS Feeds:
RSS
RSS Comments
Atom
Podcasts Feeds:
podnova
odeo
newsgator
My Yahoo
iTunes

About this Blog

We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

Blog Leaf