University Sustainability

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The 100kW Broyhill Wind Turbine sits at the highest point on campus, at the top of Bodenheimer Drive. Photo by Marie Freeman.

Broyhill Wind Turbine Closing in on 1,000,000kWh of Energy Production

Source: Office of Sustainabiity
Friday, November 22, 2019

Whether you are cheering for the Mountaineers in Kidd Brewer Stadium or slacklining on Sanford Mall, you can always spot the biggest symbol of Appalachian State’s commitment to sustainability: the 152-foot, 100kW Broyhill Wind Turbine. The largest wind turbine in the state when it was installed in 2009, the tower rises above the trees at the highest point on campus, nestled in the 67-acre nature preserve at the top of Bodenheimer Drive.

“The turbine serves as an important symbol for campus and community sustainability efforts,” says Jim Dees, Data and Assessment Specialist for the Office of Sustainability, and the turbine’s “lighthouse keeper.” “In addition to producing power and bringing visibility to renewables at Appalachian, the turbine provides significant educational opportunities about renewable energy.”

The ambitious project was the first for the fledgling Renewable Energy Initiative (REI), a student-led and student-backed green fund focusing on bringing renewable energy to campus. Since 2009, the group has installed or contributed to the funding of over 20 renewable energy projects. 

Appalachian’s power company, New River Light & Power, generously supported the turbine project, as did contributions from the senior class of 2009. NRLP General Manager Ed Miller says: "The wind turbine has become the iconic symbol of App State’s commitment to sustainability. New River Light & Power is proud to have been a part of this project and we look forward to continuing to work with the REI and the Office of Sustainability to bring more renewable energy to the High Country."

This icon is on track to produce its millionth kilowatt-hour of power soon. Very soon. Although many things factor into how quickly this will happen (it’s at 998,114 kWh as of this article), Dr. Brent Summerville estimates it will happen on or near November 29. And he should know - he was integral to the project’s inception and execution, way back in 2009.

“I was on the first REI committee and served as the wind project manager,” says Summerville, Practitioner-In-Residence in the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment. “Mike Dooraghi and I hopped the fence up there and picked out the spot for the turbine and did some wind assessment work. Back then we were thinking small, like 10 kW. A whole string of students did work on that project including Joe Smith, Crystal Simmons, and many others; it eventually turned into what it is now.”

Want to guess which way the wind will be blowing? Take your best guess at when the turbine will hit 1,000,000kWh and win a prize pack from the Office of Sustainability!

Send your prediction to Closest prediction to the hour - without going over - wins!

If you have any photos of the turbine you want to add to our gallery, email those as well and we’ll post them!

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