by Sam Alderman
Offering the opportunity to Boise residents to build their own mini-turbines, Boise State science, technology, engineer and math students will coach workshop attendees Saturday, March 2, on harnessing wind energy.
“It’s more of an educational thing,” said Jennie Rylee, environmental education coordinator at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center, which is hosting the event. “You’re going to be able to experiment and look at the evolution of wind turbines.”
Windmills, or wind turbines, haven’t always resembled the sleek white machines that sit atop hills throughout Idaho.
“There were a lot of issues with the original wind turbines 20 or 30 years ago,” said Rylee. “Over the years, construction has improved so much by looking at blade length and width and blade angle.”
The March 2 workshop, slated for 8 a.m.-noon, will allow participants to craft their own varieties of turbines.
“They can build a turbine with skinny blades and see how that does with producing power, and they can do a short fat blade and compare [the results],” Rylee told the Weekly. “They can understand the evolution of the technology.”
Students running the workshop will be using turbine kits from KidWind, providing curricula resources for teachers to introduce wind energy exploration into public classrooms.
“The more awareness we can build on alternative energy, the more people we can get thinking that there are real alternatives,” said Rylee. “This course is not going to teach you how to build a windmill in your back yard, but it will educate you about the possibilities of wind energy.”
With a limited number of spots open—attendance is capped at 25—attendees may reserve a slot by calling the Foothills Learning Center at 208-493-2530.