A 10 year milestone for Iowa Lakes wind energy project


A 10 year milestone for Iowa Lakes wind energy project

wind energy program
 
A project that started at Iowa Lakes Community College in order to generate electricity and cut down on costs turned into a full Wind Energy & Turbine Technology program 10 year ago.
 
Al Zeit, who had 20 years of experience in the wind energy industry was asked to offer his expertise and guidance on the wind turbine project before becoming a professor at the school for their wind energy program. Zeit recounts the story of how it all started and came to be:
 
“I remember the question that came up and I should have expected it: ‘Is there a need to train someone to operate and maintain this wind turbine?’”
 
“I didn’t have to think very long but I said, ‘yes, there is a need for this.’ At the time we were grabbing technicians from wherever we could. There was a huge learning curve for people to work on these turbines. There was a need for an organized training operative to bring these guys up to speed. And as a college, we asked, ‘is this something we should be doing?’”
 
“It was easy to just take the students out there and show them what I was talking about instead of telling them,”
 
“Then all the parts and pieces (of the turbine) started showing up, the blades, the cell — just to watch the look on (students) faces as they saw the equipment for the very first time.”
 
“One of my fondest memories of putting the turbine together was noticing the turnout from the local community,”
 
“I first thought they were just curious but I soon figured it was more than that. They were showing their support for the college. That did mean a lot and still does today.”
 
Director of of the sustainable energy resources and technologies program Dan Lutat said:
 
“We aren’t just training students to go out and get a job, we want them to keep those jobs for a very long time,” Lutat said. “It’s really about giving great minds an opportunity to stay (here). Our young people need freedom. We want those students to be able to learn a skill that can be useful.”
 
The program has remained on the cutting edge with a newly created sustainable energy resources and technologies center (S.E.R.T.) and a partnership with a German wind energy company (windtest north america-inc.).
 
The wind turbine has already paid off its debt, and is now generating clean energy and revenue for the college.
 

Posted By Sally on February 19, 2015 | 0 Comment

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