Situated on the hill south of campus, the Cloud Power Wind Farm was finished and commissioned in April 2010. Shortly thereafter, Cloud County Community College began a major overhaul of the HVAC system in the main building, including a switch from gas-fired boilers to a geothermal system. In combination, these two features will provide long-term energy savings for the college and make Cloud a unique example of combining wind and geothermal energy sources.
The wind farm currently has two Northwind 100 wind turbines. A third turbine, a Nordtank 130, is scheduled to be completed in February of 2011. Combined, and at peak performance, the turbines can produce 350 kilowatts of electricity.
The wind turbines provide the college with a significant reduction in carbon footprint. Based on average energy production to date, the college anticipates a savings of 828 barrels of oil, or enough electricity to power 43 homes.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the wind farm also provides an on-site laboratory for students enrolled in Cloud's Wind Energy Technology program. Students get the benefit of on-site equipment for lab training, as well as climb testing, rope rescue training, and routine maintenance work.
As part of the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) renovation, the college received a $250,000 grant from the State of Kansas to implement a geothermal power source for the new HVAC system. The geothermal well field consists of 99 wells, drilled to 400 feet deep, and arranged in three separate fields for redundancy.
The geothermal HVAC system is completely powered by the Cloud Power Wind Farm on an average day in Kansas, offsetting the college's costs in electricity and natural gas. When combined with the wind turbines, the college will save 1,656 barrels of oil per year, or enough electricity to power 60 homes.