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Explore our latest coverage of environmental issues, climate change and more.

Castleton Tests Micro Wind Turbines

VPR/Nina Keck

Castleton College built its newest dormitory, Hoff Hall, with solar panels on the roof.  Now, four new micro wind turbines will be generating power alongside them. 

When Vermonters think of wind turbines they’re likely to imagine ridge lines with huge blades turning hundreds of feet in the air.

But JLM Energy of Rocklin California has made a name for itself designing much smaller micro turbines designed for urban and suburban areas. 

According to a company press release JLM has not had commercial installations east of Arizona.  So working with Castleton College, the company will be able to gather valuable data on how their equipment works in colder climates.    

Castleton College President David Wolk said JLM provided two of the four wind turbines at no cost.

“We’re a test case for them and we’re delighted they funded 50 percent of it.”

The small white turbines are three feet in diameter and cost about $2,500 apiece.  All four operating at full power will produce just less than one kilowatt of energy. 

Wolk said besides saving the college in energy costs, they provide a valuable and highly visible teaching tool.

"If you walk into that second door in Hoff Hall, you walk in and you’ll see a beautiful portrait of Governor Hoff and next to it is a television with a display of energy efficiency and how the solar panels are working - and we’re going to combine the wind turbines with that so students can see how it helps take us off the grid and lessen our carbon foot print," Wolk said.

Most of the campus rooftops are flat and Wolk said he college plans to install many more of the small turbines in the next few years.

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