FAIRGROUNDS WIND TURBINE PROJECT
The Fairgrounds Wind Turbine Project consists of a 500 kW wind turbine and a 2,000 sq. ft. Energy Education Center building with exhibits and a classroom. The turbine was connected to the grid on April 28, 2012.
The wind turbine and Energy Education Center will be utilized to educate the 500,000 annual visitors on Renewable Energy, to facilitate the Sustainability degree credit by Baldwin Wallace University, to provide jobs training for the wind industry by Polaris Career Center and to reduce by 40% the Agricultural Society’s single largest expense, its electricity bills of about $90,000 per year.
The Fairgrounds is a clear, open, urban site of 115 acres. Preliminary wind data obtained through AWS Truewind indicates a year-round average wind speed of 11.0 mph. Actual 14-month wind monitoring has been completed, under a grant from Green Energy Ohio, funded by the Ohio Department of Development. FAA approval was obtained. Berea Zoning, Planning and final City approvals were obtained.
A 2,000 sq. ft. educational building was constructed to showcase the benefits of renewable energy, to explain the process and to house streaming wind/electricity data displays. Tens of thousands of visitors attending the annual Fair plus other weekend events will visit the display. Outreach programs with colleges, schools and educational organizations are being developed. The installation will aid Cuyahoga County’s efforts to identify the area as a wind energy center, leading to manufacturing and service job creation.
$1,675,000 million in grants were obtained for the turbine installation and the County funded the $500,000 Energy Education Center building and exhibits.
A feasibility study was prepared by The Renaissance Group. Winds were measured by Green Energy Ohio from a 50 meter met tower for 14 months. Electrical Interconnection and Net Metering Applications were approved by FirstEnergy. $1,275,000 million in an ARRA-SEP grant and $400,000 in an EECBG grant were obtained. The project’s “substantial transformation” qualification for Buy American was approved. The Renaissance Group gathered data for the Environmental Assessment and were contracted to be the Owner’s Rep. The Environmental Assessment received all approvals and a Finding Of No Significant Impact (FONSI) letter was issued, triggering release of grant funds. A turbine contract was then awarded. A turbine supply/re-build/install contract was awarded to Halus Power Systems. The Energy Education Center building was designed by Doty & Miller and the contract awarded to Town Center Construction. Upon Nick Willis’s retirement, The Renaissance Group was contracted to assist the County in Project Management.
Construction of the turbine installation and the Energy Education Center building were completed in March of 2012. The turbine was put online in April of 2012.