Energy project lets Sitka students test wind power 

REAP note: REAP is the state facilitator for the Alaska Wind for Schools program mentioned in this article and led the effort along with the Alaska Center for Energy & Power in Fairbanks to have Alaska added to the national Wind for Schools program.

By Craig Giammona of the Sitka Daily Sentinel – An alternative energy project taking shape on Japonski Island will allow the city’s electric department to test wind as a viable power source in Sitka. In the process, Mt. Edgecumbe High School students will get hands-on lessons in math and science, and perhaps pick up ideas for bringing clean energy to their hometowns across the state. The U.S. Coast Guard could see benefits as well, namely a reduction in its power bill as the U.S. Coast Guard attempts to meet a mandate for federal agencies to reduce their use of fossil fuels.

“It’s really a collaborative project,” said Chris Brewton, Sitka’s utility director. “It’s an innovative way to approach it.”

The driving force behind the project, which will bring a 66-foot wind turbine to Japonski Island, is Matt Hunter, who teaches math and physics at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. Last winter, Hunter was brainstorming about projects for his students, when he came across a newspaper advertisement announcing grant funds for a program called “Alaska Wind for Schools.” Funded with federal stimulus money, the project seeks to “grow” a new generation of wind energy workers by giving them hands-on experience with a source of alternative energy. Hunter thought it would be a perfect fit for his students, with an opportunity to crunch data and perhaps learn about a clean energy source. Read more

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