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Wind turbine further empowers MATC program in Oak Creek

July 23, 2012

Oak Creek - Milwaukee Area Technical College will expand its Energy Conservation and Advancement Manufacturing curriculum with the construction of a 47-foot wind turbine on its Oak Creek campus.

The $120,000 turbine - approved by the MATC District Board in May and by city's Plan Commission in June - will help build on the program's energy conservation training focus as students learn how the turbine operates.

"This turbine is more than an energy producer - it will be an extension of our classrooms and laboratories," said Kathleen Hohl, director of communications and events staff at MATC. "Students will have a wide range of opportunities at their fingertips to learn and practice on this turbine and our other equipment."

MATC installed up solar panels on the ECAM building a few years ago as part of the training, as well.

Hohl said the wind turbine, to be erected just north of the ECAM building entrance at 6665 S. Howell Ave., will have a peak production of 3.5 kilowatts and will save energy for the campus.

Jeff Fortin, the city's community development planner, said the wind turbine will be much smaller than typical turbines at the wind farms in Southwest Wisconsin, which can be over 100 feet high.

"The diameter of the rotor is only about 13.4 feet," Fortin said. "It should be relatively simple to install, but we will know for sure once we get a building permit."

Grunau Company will install the turbine, but there may be other subcontractors on the project. Once construction begins, the turbine should be completed in approximately four weeks. Fortin said it has potential to be completed by the end of this summer.

The wind turbine will need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration because of its proximity to the airport.

The turbine will not affect any parking near the campus, Hohl said.

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