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Monday, January 5, 2009

MATC puts up largest tech college turbine

From an article by Tom Kertscher in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Mequon - The largest wind turbine on a technical college campus in Wisconsin has been erected at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Mequon, where officials hope that what's been dubbed "Blades of Freedom" will reduce campus energy costs and help train students for sustainable energy jobs of the future.

The turbine, which at 160 feet high and 56 feet wide easily is visible from Highland Road, also is aimed at raising awareness among the public about renewable sources of energy, said Michael Townsend, vice president of the Mequon campus.

Questions about the turbine's appearance, noise and other issues initially caused City of Mequon officials to pause when they took up MATC's request in April 2006. But four months later, after hiring a consultant, the city gave the turbine a green light.

The school purchased a reconditioned 90-kilowatt, V-17 turbine from Vestas, a company in Denmark.

The original cost to MATC was pegged at $150,000, but it has since climbed to $188,000. With $67,000 in grants from We Energies and the state's Focus on Energy program, the total cost is about $255,000.

The MATC portion rose because a vendor that the school originally intended to use withdrew from the deal, said MATC spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl. And after the turbine was purchased, it sustained damage while being stored on the Mequon campus as the school waited for approvals from the city, she said.

MATC expects to recoup its investment because the turbine will generate about 8% of the Mequon campus' electricity. . . .

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