Giant turbine blade arrives for use in wind energy program

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A 145-foot wind turbine blade made its way Friday afternoon onto the campus of the College of Southern Idaho

Before its arrival, the blade was part of a wind turbine in Ogden, Utah, helping convert wind into electricity. At the college, the blade will not be part of a towering turbine.

But the eight-ton blade will be a prominent campus landmark just the same. It’s also a reminder that CSI is starting a new wind energy technology program this fall that will train students to service turbines, an industry that’s expected to grow.

“We’re hoping people get a sense of the potential in the valley,” “We’re hoping people get a sense of the potential in the valley,” said Todd Schwarz, the instruction dean overseeing technology programs at the college.

Don’t expect to see the turbine blade rotating in the air. Instead, the blade was hoisted up by a crane and laid lengthwise a few feet above the ground along two concrete piers north of the Canyon Building.

While not operational, there’s still instructional value to the blade, such as showing students its interior and the fastening apparatus that once hooked the blade up to a tower. The blade was provided by Suzlon Corp., its manufacturer, at a cost of just $10.

There are also plans to install smaller turbines on campus, though the exact details like the locations and timeline still need to be worked out, Schwarz said.

The college has hired its instructor for the program, Twin Falls resident Mark Goodman. Goodman has 30 years of experience in the electro-mechanical apparatus field servicing industrial motors and generators.

“We’re developing a program from ground zero,” Goodman said. “It will be a large part of southern Idaho’s economy.”

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