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Source: Ruth Douglas Miller, 785-532-4596,
Photo available. Contact or 785-532-6415
News release prepared by: Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Eight Kansas schools have their own wind turbines and seven more are set to receive them because of the efforts of a Kansas State University professor researching alternative energies.

Ruth Douglas Miller, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at K-State, received an award for Outstanding Leadership in the Application of Wind for Schools from the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America program.

"This award is recognizing not just wind turbines up at the schools, but the number of K-State engineering students involved in helping getting them going," Miller said. "The interest from the student body here at K-State and engineering students pursuing careers in renewable energy is big. It's important to the energy industry to increase the number of workers in renewable energies."

The award also was given to Dan Nagengast, executive director of the Kansas Rural Center, who got Miller involved in the Wind for Schools program. Through the U.S. Department of Energy, the Wind Applications Centers in each of six states, including Kansas, help K-12 schools install small wind turbines for educational purposes.

Miller said the department identified states with strong wind energy potential but minimal realization. Under the Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory program, Miller is funded as Kansas Wind Applications Center director and Nagengast as state facilitator, helping to raise support for the center.

The turbines installed at K-12 schools have been supported by Horizon Wind and Tradewinds Energy. A wind turbine on K-State's campus was supported by Westar Energy.

Wind turbines have been installed at: Ell-Saline High School, Brookville, USD 307; Concordia High School, Concordia, USD 333; Greenbush, the Southeast Kansas Educational Service Center, Girard, USD 612; Fairfield High School, Langdon, USD 310; Blue Valley High School, Randolph, USD 384; Sterling High School, Sterling, USD 376; and Walton Elementary School, Walton, USD 373.

Districts slated to get wind turbines later this year are Pretty Prairie USD 311, Deerfield USD 216 and another yet to be chosen.

Sites selected to receive wind turbines in 2009-2010 are: Colby County Community College, Colby, in consortium with several area school districts; Smoky Valley USD 400, Lindsborg; Appanoose Elementary School, Pomona, USD 287; Solomon USD 393; and Hope Street Academy, Topeka, USD 501.

Miller presented a poster on Kansas Wind for Schools activities and Windpower 2009, May 4-7, in Chicago.

Miller's own research has focused on where to site turbines and the applications of wind energy, such as studying how to best integrate it into the power grid. Miller, who advises the K-State Solar Car Team, also is working with Decent Energy Inc. in Leawood to site a solar energy system on the K-State campus.