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Spirit Lake School District Case Study

July 31, 2012

The Spirit Lake School District in Iowa installed a 250-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine in 1993 and a 750-kW turbine in 2001, providing an example of installed renewable energy for other schools across the nation to follow while offsetting approximately 46% of the district's electricity needs. The following case study summarizes the project's history, including cost, funding, and technical details.

250-kW Turbine

750-kW Turbine

The turbines have required only two major repairs. First, the computers had to be replaced in 2003 following a lightning strike. School insurance covered all but $1,000 of the $4,400 expense. Second, the NEG Micon gearbox had to be replaced, but a warranty agreement covered the entire fee, which exceeded $50,000.

Spirit Lake School District Savings from On-Site Wind Turbines
YearSavings* $
1993$12,243
1994 $24,978
1995$25,007
1996$25,951
1997$20,185
1998$19,853
1999$23,969
2000$21,650
2001**$46,123
2002$137,798
2003$136,406
2004$150,420
2005$156,474
2006$129,987
2007$146,018
2008$132,776
2009$128,377
2010$163,515
2011$178,709

Source: Spirit Lake Community Schools

* These dollar amounts represent money the district did not have to use for utility bills; the money instead could be added to the general fund for other district needs.

**The district installed its second turbine in 2001.

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Content Last Updated: 09/21/2011