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Kansas Wind for Schools Team Receives USDA Funding for Four Turbine Installations: A Wind Powering America Success Story

September 27, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Kansas announced last week that four Kansas school districts will each receive $5,000 in funding to install a wind turbine to educate students on the importance of wind as an alternative energy source and to promote rural jobs for the future.

The four school districts—Central Plains USD 112, Eudora USD 491, Halstead-Bentley USD 440, and Jefferson West USD 340—are participating in Wind Powering America's Wind for Schools project, which is administered by Kansas State University's (KSU's) Wind Applications Center. KSU was one of the original Wind Applications Centers, beginning operations in 2008 under the guidance of associate professor Ruth Douglas Miller. To date, Douglas Miller and her team have installed turbines at 13 schools in the state, with seven more under development (including the four USDA-funded installations).

The USDA awards are part of its Rural Business Enterprise Grant program, which awards federal funding to organizations that help promote small and emerging rural business creation and expansion in rural communities.

"Even smaller projects, such as these four advanced by the wind energy team at Kansas State University, represent an important step in the right direction," said Charles Newcomb, Wind Powering America's Wind for Schools project lead. "Wind energy provides significant jobs and economic development impacts that are realized when the right policies and public support are brought to bear. And, from an industry growth perspective, the lessons that these students are learning by navigating the federal incentive landscape will prove invaluable and relevant as they enter the wind energy workforce as the project developers, analysts, and engineers of tomorrow."

The KSU Wind Applications Center team is grateful for the advice and assistance of Dan McGuire, Nebraska Wind for Schools facilitator; Karissa Berks, USDA Kansas Business Programs director; and the four school faculty champions: Scott Keltner, Eudora High School; Leslie Bruton, Jefferson West School; Duane Knoll, Halstead High School; and Steve Woolf, Claflin High School.

The KSU Wind Applications Center team invested many hours in developing a template for the USDA's application process, and they encourage anyone interested in submitting applications for Wind for Schools project funding to use their template as a starting point. Contact Ruth Douglas Miller at for more information. For additional information regarding USDA Rural Development programs, visit

Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America initiative, the Wind for Schools project works to raise awareness in rural America about the benefits of wind energy while increasing the wind knowledge base of future leaders of our communities, states, and nation.

—Julie Jones