Friday, January 30, 2009
But did anyone teach them the economics?
In the "How We Live" section of The Funny Paper today, there's a story about a group of students in Hood River High School who spearheaded the installation of a wind turbine on school property.
These kids, according to the story, have been fully indoctrinated in everything green:
"To these teens and many of their generation, understanding and promoting alternative, renewable energy is a given. They want more recycling bins on school grounds and energetically embrace other green projects. Not to mention, they know they can play a bigger role for the environment by teaching their elders."
They got the money for the turbine from the Oregon Energy Trust, who agreed to fully fund the $25,000 installation and maintenance for the project. Now they have a turbine that feeds the grid a small amount of electricity.
The story says the electricity produced by the turbine is 1.8 kilowatts. That, no doubt, is what it spits off when it is actually spinning, not an average of what it produces during any given year. But let's assume it is an average.
The value of that electricity at Oregon prices is about $1,261 a year. Would you invest $25,000 to yield $1261 a year? Barely. That is about a 5% return - a 20 year payback - far less than any profit making enterprise would need to invest.
Plus, the $25K doesn't include various costs such as land.
So I am wondering whether, along with what these students are taught about alternative energy and sustainability, they are ever taught anything about ROI and economics.