News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 23, 2013

Indiana State energy sustainability grows with dedication of wind turbine

TERRE HAUTE — A chilly breeze rumpled the ribbon a bit as a new wind turbine was dedicated on Indiana State University grounds.

ISU welcomed “Helix” home Friday afternoon, amid windy weather many joked was quite appropriate. Painted Sycamore blue, the turbine stands about 30 feet off the ground and is powered by curved, vertical blades. Rotating by wind power, the blades are expected to help generate between 5,000 and 11,000 kilowatts annually to offset the university’s energy usage.

ISU President Dan Bradley commented on the sustained effort of all involved.

“It’s great to finally have this day,” he said shortly before the dedication.

Situated between Rhoads and Mills Residence Halls, the turbine was officially named “Helix” through a campus contest which drew more than 200 submissions. Sophomore Brett Ferry offered the successful name, it was announced at the contest.

Bradley said the idea for a campus wind turbine grew out of the university’s strategic plan as part of the Unbounded Possibilities Initiative and its offshoot, the Institute for Community Sustainability. The turbine coincides with the university’s Climate Action Plan, which seeks to make the campus carbon-neutral by 2050.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said ISU remains a community leader in the effort toward sustainability. Meanwhile, the aesthetic quality of the turbine is also a plus.

“It looks great. It looks like a piece of art,” he said.

More than 450 environmental sciences students actively participated in the project, analyzing wind data to determine the best location for a turbine.

Sabrina Brown, a student involved in the project, reported that she’s presented her climatological research at a national conference and has been asked to publish a paper about her findings.

Brown said students caught the wind in anemometers to measure speed at 50 points across campus. Student data collected as early as the 1960s was also utilized in the research, she said.

“To me, the coolest part of the project was that students were able to participate from beginning to end,” she said.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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