Waubonsee Community College students studying for careers in the wind-energy field have a new example to study since the college recently installed a small wind turbine on its Sugar Grove campus.
The 70-foot Skystream is on the northwest corner of the campus, near the Academic and Professional Center.
Besides being studied, it will supplement electrical power to the APC.
Waubonsee began a wind-energy certificate program this year. Nine students are enrolled in the first class, "Introduction to Wind-Energy Systems." To receive certification, students will also have to pass an electronics course, a wind-energy systems selection and design course, and one on installing and maintaining such systems. The certification is for small on- and off-grid systems, such as the Skystream. A small system generates 100 kilowatts or less per hour; the Skystream can supply 2.4 kilowatts.
"We know that the green economy is growing," said Stephanie Wennmacher, the college's marketing and communications manager. This program joins others on photovoltaic arrays (solar panels) and geothermal systems.
The turbine cost $52,000. "We consider it an investment in our students and our campus," Wennmacher said.
Waubonsee belongs to the Illinois Green Economy Network.
Small-wind students will also study two smaller units -- suitable for use by a recreational vehicle -- as part of classroom studies.
For more information about the program and other renewable-energy courses, visit waubonsee.edu/ret.