Lake Region State College (LRSC), Devils Lake, ND, and Honeywell Building Solutions have broken ground on a wind turbine that will establish a new source of energy and revenue for the school while acting as a teaching tool for the school’s wind energy technician program.

The on-campus turbine is capable of producing 6,000 mwh of electricity annually. Because the annual campus demand is only 1,700 mwh, LRSC will sell excess power to the local utility, Otter Tail Power Company. This additional revenue stream will help cover turbine construction costs within 15 years.

The turbine will act as a living laboratory for students enrolled in the school’s wind energy technician program and strengthen LRSC’s capabilities to attract and accommodate program enrollees. LRSC had previously “borrowed” turbines at nearby facilities to train wind energy technicians. This presented expensive logistical challenges — particularly in transporting instructors and students to the sites — and ultimately limited program enrollment.

“The installation of the turbine close to campus is going to be a great training tool for our energy technician program, which is at the forefront of the growing and important green job sector,” Dr. Doug Darling, interim president, Lake Region State College, said. “It’s also going to be a great marketing tool for attracting new students. We will be the only college in the tri-state (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota) area that offers a wind energy technician program with its own turbine, and we ultimately see the construction of a turbine close to campus as a way to move our training program from good to great.