Holy Name High School, one of the few locations in Worcester relying on alternative energy for electricity needs, recently hosted ES&P Professor Jennie Stephens and her “Climate Change, Energy and Development” class for an educational session regarding their newly installed wind turbine.
Not long ago, Holy Name High School was facing an annual electric bill of $180,000. Viewing this as a hindrance to the schools advancement, the headmaster began exploring alternative energy solutions that would allow the school system to invest more into its students, rather than its heating bills. Wind energy seemed a viable option given the schools position on top of the second highest point in Worcester and thus began an 8 year project to bring a wind turbine to Holy Name.
Despite the economic and environmental benefits of wind turbines they are not always the most effective form of alternative energy. Given this, numerous studies were conducted at the location to test wind speeds and flicker shadows prior to installation. Additionally, concerns over proximity to residents, and city permits threatened to stall or terminate the project. Fortunately, Holy Name high school had ideal environmental conditions, friendly neighbors, and an agreeable planning and zoning board in the City of Worcester.
Once approval was granted the wind turbine made its way from India and installation began on the school grounds. Now, after a few years in operation, Holy Cross has decreased its annual electric bill to $30,000 and is anticipating 15-20 years of free electricity once the initial loan is repaid and making use of credits they receive from selling surplus energy back to the grid. Given the excess funding that the wind turbine has made available, Holy Name will be equipped to fulfill the headmaster’s initial goal of bettering the school and its students through scholarship creation and infrastructure improvements.