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College of the Atlantic Erects Wind Turbine 

Wayne Harvey

At a price tag of fifteen thousand dollars, a windmill is a pretty sizeable investment for any residence.But when the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor received enough grant money to cover the windmill and it’s installation, they just had to decide where to put it.Then they decided to use it as a teaching experience. “We had talked about doing a turbine on campus but the ordinances for Bar Harbor were prohibitive,” Said Anna Demeo, a lecturer at COA, “so it made sense to do one here at the farm.”Beech Hill Farm in Mount Desert is used by students as a classroom and an organic farm. The ten students in the Practicum in Windpower of the College of the Atlantic had the optimistic goal of having the turbine cover the farm’s electricity needs. “What we’ve really tried to do is bring the students into what was done for example for siting where on this farm are we going to put the turbine,” said Demeo. We chose this spot because there was a point in the course where the students walked around to all the sites we had considered and looked at the pros and cons.”Learning about those pros and cons will help the students who want to go into alternative energy after graduation like Senior Haley Schwartz of Colorado. “There is so much siting that has to be done and research getting just spreading the word and letting people know that this is an alternative that’s feasible for them.”This is the same type of set up you’d use at your house according to Demeo. “It’s very demonstrative of any residence who would like to do a wind power project that power goes back to the grid and it’s a net metering system here in Maine so credits are generated for times when the wind turbines are producing more power than the house is using, the farm gets a credit and when it’s the other way around they pay for the electricity.”The turbine being lifted and bolted into place, made all of the hours the students put in the class worth it. “It’s really exciting we had one of those turbines in our classroom for a good two weeks and we just looked at it and knew that one day it’d be up in the air so it’s super exciting we’ve been doing a lot of work to get to this point,” said Schwartz. “We can see the work that we’ve done and it’s actually going to be put to use and other people are going to be seeing that for years to come, so it’s been an awesome course.”College of the Atlantic will hold a public “opening” of the turbine at the Beech Hill Farm with presentations by faculty and staff on Wednesday May 27th, at 9:30am.It is the first wind turnbine to be erected on Mount Desert Island, and is part of an ongoing commitment by COA to “develop leadership in residential scale alternative energy innovations.”