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ASU Students Demonstrate Renewable Energy Leadership


Appalachian State University’s students have combined their resources and hard work to install on campus the largest wind turbine in North Carolina. The 153-foot tall, state-of-the-art 100-kilowatt machine located near the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center is anticipated to deliver 130,000 kilowatts to the local electric grid. Wind energy research isn’t new to Boone. In the early 1980s, the town was home to what was then the world’s largest wind turbine, the Mod-1 operated by NASA.

The new project is a joint venture between Appalachian’s student-led and student-funded Renewable Energy Initiative (REI) and the university-owned utility New River Light & Power. In 2007, students voted by a 93 percent majority to add an additional $5 per semester fee to their campus fees to fund and build renewable energy projects on campus. “Aside from our desire to reduce our carbon footprint, the REI also seeks to educate the entire community on the possibilities of renewable energy by designing and installing the best possible examples of these technologies,” said current REI chair Clary Franko, a senior majoring in Geography. The REI plans to install a Web-based monitoring system so that students and others can follow the renewable energy production of the wind turbine and other renewable-energy projects installed on campus. 

In addition to the wind turbine project, the REI has funded and installed three photovoltaic systems and two solar-thermal systems on our campus. When possible, these systems are located in highly visible locations, thus enhancing their educational value.  Additionally, the REI has co-sponsored the installation of a bio-diesel tank, making the free community bus system AppalCart powered by biodiesel. The REI has more projects planned, so be on the lookout when visiting the campus.

Click here for more information on Appalachian’s Renewable Energy Initiative.


For further information, please contact:

Ged Moody
University Sustainability Director
Appalachian State University