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Calvin To Raise Wind Turbine
updated May 10, 2007

A wind turbine funded in part by a state of Michigan grant will be raised this Saturday, April 21, on the Calvin College campus -- weather permitting.

See the demonstration wind turbine in action, via the turbine's own website!

The work will begin at approximately 9 am and conclude around 1 pm with the tower and the turbine scheduled to go up at around 10:30 am.

The location is just west of East Paris, near the Gainey Athletic Fields that Calvin and the Grand Rapids Christian schools share. Access to the site is available to media from East Paris, between Burton and Lake Drive.

The demonstration turbine could generate up to two kilowatts of power, an amount Calvin engineering professor Matt Heun says could run lights and computers in Calvin's Bunker Interpretive Center, while also having a big impact in terms of educational value.

Heun's Engineering 333 class, called "Thermal Fluid Systems Design," inherited part of the wind energy mantle in the fall of 2006 when the engineering department landed a $6,000 grant from the Energy Office of the State of Michigan. The class divided into five teams to tackle the project of bringing wind energy to Calvin.

"This project is definitely a learning experience," says Heun, "one that involved over 50 people on campus, either directly or indirectly."

Heun notes that the turbine will continue to be educational for both students and the Grand Rapids community as it feeds information on wind speeds and weather data to both a kiosk in the Bunker Interpretive Center and to a website open to anyone with internet access.

The turbine for the demonstration project which will be installed April 21 is a 1.8 kilowatt Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7 purchased from Earth Solar Group. The tower on which the turbine will stand is a monopole because, of the designs available, it had the smallest environmental footprint and its design is the most aesthetically pleasing.

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