The Spirit Lake, Iowa, school district’s electric bills soon will be blowing in the wind. By the middle of next year, the district plans to have its electricity supplied entirely by two wind-energy generators.
The district installed one 240-kilowatt wind turbine in 1993 to power the elementary school, with enough electricity left over for 188 homes. Officials are adding a second, larger generator next year.
Superintendent Harold Overman said the first turbine already has paid for itself, and he said the power savings over the next five years would be enough to equip a computer lab.
“In my 28 years, it’s the single most popular thing I’ve done,” Overman said. “It’s a nice looking thing on the horizon. People are proud of it. They know that it’s returning finances to them. It’s a no-loser.”
The second unit, which will cost about $550,000, will be 500 kilowatts. Bids will be opened Dec. 14, and the district hopes to have it up and running by next July. Officials said they are working with Alliant Energy to buy the excess power.
“It’s just amazing that everyone isn’t doing this,” Overman said.