USA - USVI university to build wind turbine in a bid to save energy

Plan announced to build one of the largest wind turbines in the Caribbean

The University of the Virgin Islands has announced plan to build one of the largest wind turbines in the Caribbean, in a bid to save money and energy. The 200-foot (61-metre) tall wind-driven generator would produce more than 2 million kilowatt hours and reduce the university's fossil fuel consumption by nearly 250,000 gallons (962,000 litres) a year, said LaVerne Ragster, the president of the university. She said the General Electric generator, which will cost US$3 million, will save the university at least US$300,000 a year and pay for itself within a decade.

The school currently spends about US$1.5 million on electricity. Construction, which will take about two months, will begin later this year on the St Thomas campus if the school's board of trustees approves financing plans, said Patrick O'Donnell, the university's director of capital projects. "Every penny that we spend on electricity is one I don't have to pay teachers or for student programmes," Ragster said.

The turbine can be turned to face any wind direction and the pitch of its 115-foot (35-metre) long blades can be adjusted to harness different wind speeds efficiently. It shuts down automatically if winds in this hurricane-prone region become too strong. With a life span of 20-25 years, the turbine is among the largest in the Caribbean. O'Donnell said it was bigger than similar ones in Jamaica and Curacao. The university, which also has a campus on St Croix, has about 2,500 students and a $36 million budget. It's the only higher learning institution in the US Caribbean territory of 110,000 residents.
Online editorial, www.windfair.net
Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
USA, University of the Virgin Islands, wind energy, wind power, wind turbine, wind farm, renewable energy, offshore, onshore, rotor blade

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