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Turbine to take a spin on campus

By Staff | Feb 25, 2011

Marshalltown Community College Farm Manager Norm McCoy, left, smiles as he looks for a place to put a new wind turbine delivered to MCC Monday. Driving the forklift is John Murray, who works in maintenance for the college.

MARSHALLTOWN – A delivery of energy efficiency was a welcome sight at Marshalltown Community College Monday.

A wind mini-turbine was delivered to to the campus. The tower it will rest upon will be delivered in mid-April. The delivery is part of an agreement MCC has with Viryd Technologies, an Austin, Texas-based company.

The turbine will be located just north of the new ag incubator building on the MCC campus in a few months.

“I think it’s going to be a nice complement to our sustainable entrepreneurial agriculture program,” said Norm McCoy, farm manager at MCC. “It’s a great fit.”

When erected, the tower will stand 80 feet. The turbine itself is 17 feet long with the diameter of the blades spanning 22 feet.

The new turbine as it was delivered.

“It’s impressive,” McCoy said. “It’s built out of heavy steel.”

The college will pay for the tower through its energy savings as a result of the electricity generated until the tower is paid off and then it will become property of the college.

That payback is expected to end in about five years as it will produce 20,000 kilowatt hours of power annually.

After retiring the debt, the turbine is expected to save the college several thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.

Tom Sims, field service supervisor with Viryd, said the company was originally impressed with MCC after it hosted the Practical Farmers of Iowa conference, which led to this agreement.

The company is also wanting to get the word out on its mini-turbines for farms and businesses and likes the location of where this turbine will be erected.

“We have great exposure to (U.S. Highway) 30 and MCC has excellent facilities,” Sims said. “It seemed like a natural match.”

Not only will it provide part of the power needed to run MCC it will also be used for hands-on training.

The college is filming the installation of the tower and will use the video and the new tower for a continuing education class on wind turbine construction and maintenance.

Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or apotter@timesrepublican.com.

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