EDPR NA Hosts Wind Day in Leroy, Minnesota
On Thursday, May 23, EDP Renewables staff conducted “Wind Day” at the Pioneer Prairie and Prairie Star wind farms in LeRoy, Minnesota.
Arrangements and a partnership agreement with the LeRoy School District were put into place, and EDPR was given the opportunity to host 4th and 5th graders for an afternoon of learning about the science and engineering behind wind energy as well as the multitude of environmental impacts of renewables. The students also got a chance to learn about the wide variety of jobs that make up the field of wind energy.
The students were welcomed by the onsite Prairies Ops team (Justin Van Beusekom, Ann Oeltjen, Brodie Dockendorf, and Kevin Clark) and the Houston contingent (Vanessa Kellogg Tutos, Chris Goldsberry, John Taylor, and Adam Renz). The students listened to a safety briefing and welcome message and then participated in a wind 101 class that was tailored to 4th and 5th graders. Next, participants broke out into groups where half went into the O&M maintenance facility and were given a presentation on the gear involved in maintaining and operating wind farms and also met with Vestas and EDPR Ops staff to try their hand at dressing in the gear and using the equipment the site teams wear and use on a daily basis. The other group was led into a turbine engineering class where helpers from Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) explained how turbines work.
Next, John Taylor gave a presentation that showed the group the stages of a wind farm’s construction. Following the presentations, the students built their own Kidwind turbines and then tested them out in the blustery LeRoy field next to the O&M office. The groups swapped classrooms to take part in the other lesson and then regrouped for a BBQ lunch prepared by the EDPR team. Following a much needed nourishment break, the groups faced off in foot races that simulated the height of the Vestas towers in use in LeRoy.
Following the close to the day’s educational activities and the departure of the students, EDPR staff led a tour of the O&M and site to legislators, journalists, and county tax assessors from both Iowa and Minnesota. The tour concluded with a reception at a local venue and served as an opportunity for networking and question/answer time.