What a Twenty-First Century Catholic School Should Be

Green Initiative

Wind Turbine Project at Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School

Project Description & Budget

Photo: wind turbine

Based upon a Technical and Economic Assessment of the project performed by Sustainabie Energy Developments, Inc. (SED), this project was the only wind project in the Commonwealth to receive a Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's Large On-Site Renewable Energy Construction Grant. This assessment and application process included a comprehensive review of the project's technical and economic viability.

According to Kevin Schulte, co-founder and vice president of business development for SED, the site is perfect for a wind turbine. "Not only will the wind turbine be used for educational purposes now and for years to come, but we also get to put up a wind turbine in a city the size of Worcester, which helps in our efforts to continue the awareness of the need for renewable energy, especially wind power, in the northeastern United States."

The total project cost is $1.5 million. We have received generous gifts from individuals, local corporations and other organizations. The following charitable foundations and/or trusts have also provided grants to the project:

  • George Alden Trust
  • Blanche M. Walsh Charity Trust
  • Esther's Dream Foundation
  • George F. & Sybil H. Fuller Foundation
  • David R. Grenon Family Foundation
  • Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
  • Stoddard Charitable Trust
  • Wyman-Gordon Foundation

Goals & Objectives

The goal is to provide the school with its own electricity so it does not have to be purchased from the grid. Objectives for the project are to provide long-term electricity cost savings and to provide educational opportunities to secondary and higher education students in the area. An onsite wind project makes sense at Holy Name based on the school's location, sustainable wind resource and sufficient land area. Energy costs to run the school are a constant concern for administrators and the installation of the wind turbine will help stabilize these costs. In addition to the economic and environmental benefits that wind power affords, we believe the installation of a wind turbine is an opportunity to implement our commitment to be a good steward of the earth.

Benefits: Local and Beyond

This project is the first of its kind in centra! Massachusetts. We will be delighted to have the ability to host workshops and other public education events at the facility. As we've already seen by the involvement of the many students atWPI, this project has the potential to engage educational institutions and inspire students well beyond our campus. In this burgeoning on-site renewable energy market, the implications of this project's development and success will set an example for commercial, industrial, and educational facilities in Worcester and beyond.

The turbine will reduce Massachusetts' importation of electricity (and fuels for generation) and will provide a wide array of system benefits, including enhanced energy security, deferred distribution, facility upgrades, reduction of electricity line losses, increased grid reliability, and may even support the grid in case of partial failure. Wind power will diversify Massachusetts' energy mix, making the Commonwealth and its ratepayers less vulnerable to the price volatility of conventional fuels. Wind power is not subject to national or international market swings or to supply disruptions due to labor, transportation, or market vagaries.

Furthermore, the decentralized nature and relatively small scale of distributed power generation projects makes it less vulnerable to sabotage or the accidental disruptions experienced by larger fossii fuel and nuclear power plants.

The Holy Name Wind Turbine Project provides the opportunity to diversify the geographic distribution of wind energy projects in Massachusetts. By moving from the coastal region to the interior, this project can spread the economic and environmental benefits of wind power to more of the Commonweaith's ratepayers. An onsite wind turbine located in the City of Worcester will pave the way for a greater dissemination of this proven technology.

From Holy Name Director of Institutional Advancement, Mary E. Riordan

The past four years has been an exciting time as we moved from an idea, to the reality of constructing a wind turbine here on our campus. From the initial research to test the feasibility of utilizing wind power for our school, to the delivery of the turbine and early construction phases, each step along the way has been an education. I am very proud that in a few short weeks. Holy Name Central Catholic Jr Sr. High School will be the first school in central Massachusetts receiving 100 of its energy needs from the wind!

Plans began by posting a student project request at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 2004. Undergraduate student Hans Jensen, leading a team of fellow students Brian Foley, Adam Young, and Tyler Forbes, under the supervision of Professor Alexander E. Emanuel responded to the request. They began their study by placing an anemometer on our school roof. As they explored the viability of wind power generation, it became clear that all of the unique characteristics required for a successful distributed wind power project existed here. This single wind turbine will be connected directly to the school, and any excess electricity produced will flow to the local utility grid benefiting all consumers.

In addition to the economic benefits that wind power affords, the installation of this wind turbine is an opportunity to implement our responsibility to be a good steward of the earth. The turbine will be a landmark and demonstrate a commitment by all involved regarding the need to develop sustainable, clean energy.

I appreciate the input and support of the many people and groups in the private and public sectors who have shared our vision of the wind turbine project. I owe special thanks to the Sisters of St. Anne, Congressman James McGovern, the Mass Technology Collaborative, the Foundations, and individual donors that supported this historic project. I especially wish to thank Bishop McManus, Superintendent Perla, and Assistant Superintendent Mulford for their support and encouragement during this entire process. Here at Holy Name, I thank our Headmaster Edward Reynolds, Athletic Director James Manzello, Maintenance Director Richard Wassell and student Christopher Coogan for their help. Because of the vision of all these benefactors, the wind turbine will rise up 242 feet from the second highest point in Worcester, to be visible for miles in all directions. It is our hope here that it will serve as an example to others that alternative energy sources are possible and necessary. It will also demonstrate what we, at Holy Name have declared proudly since the inception of this project.. ."We Are The Future!"

For More Information concerning the Holy Name Wind Turbine, please contact Mrs. Mary Riordan at (508) 753-6371 or by e-mail at mriordan@holyname.net