Wind turbine receives upgrades

Photo by Jesse O. Walls | Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Jesse O. Walls | Editor-in-Chief

By James Walls
Assistant Editor

 The MARET (Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology) Center is currently making repairs and upgrades to its wind turbine, thanks to the Title III funds that Crowder College received earlier this semester. By installing newly refurbished blades, the MARET Center will not only repair the turbine, but also offer a better learning experience for the students involved in the wind energy program.

“They got to observe the experts put the blades on, so that was a benefit,” said Russ Hopper, executive director of the MARET Center. “And simply because it’s now got high-quality, fully functioning blades, then they’re able to work on a much better piece of equipment.”

The turbine, along with the building’s solar panels, helps power the MARET Center. Both systems are grid-tied, providing power to the building first and then going into the grid by producing more power than needed. With these repairs, the turbine will be able to work more efficiently than before.

“We don’t really upgrade, we just maintain it,” said Hopper, explaining the normal protocol for the turbine, “and that’s a major part of the training program. Students can come in and we’ve got a functioning wind turbine that needs maintenance, and so they have an opportunity to work on a real world system.”

For Paul Wooster, a wind energy major going for an applied science degree, working on the wind turbine has been a great benefit.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go try to find a job and say I’ve never been on a wind turbine,” said Wooster. “I didn’t have quite the understanding of what a turbine technician is. It’s not about going up there and fixing something with a hammer and a wrench, it’s about taking a technical approach to it and not causing any more damage.”