Windjammers were large sailing ships made of iron and steel, originally used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. These steel-hulled ships were the grandest of vessels, designed to withstand long ocean voyages and harness the wind to transport cargo around the world.

“Windplanners signing the turbine blades“ Photo Credit - Dave Strong, SED Senior Project Manager

True to their namesake, the Windjammers of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, Maine, recently completed a grand eight-year voyage of the 21st century. Captained by the students, the school undertook several years of research, fundraising, and the successful navigation of complex permitting channels to deliver a 100kW community wind project. The Windjammers themselves raised over half a million dollars to fund the project and acquired all of the permits and approvals necessary to install the machine. Sustainable Energy Developments (SED) was selected by the school to fill the role of guiding this voyage to a close.  Contracted in January of this year to construct the 100kW wind turbine project, which now stands 155 feet tall between the school’s athletic fields, SED’s experienced construction team, based in Ontario, New York, finished the installation just three months later. On Thursday, March 22nd, 21st century wind power was surging through the halls of the high school.

The industry defines community wind as locally-owned, commercial-scale wind projects that optimize local benefits. Through hard work and perseverance, the Windjammers have redefined the meaning of “community wind” as one in which all community members are integral in the process. The project’s success proves that even the most unexpected, inexperienced or youngest of community members can contribute to significant, positive and lasting change. The next generation of voyagers has arrived.

Under the advisement of Camden Hills science teacher Margo Murphy, the Five Town Community School District Director of Operations and Maintenance Keith Rose, and with the help of professional community wind specialists at SED, the Camden Hills students delivered this gift to their fellow classmates, future Windjammers, and the entire community. At a ribbon cutting ceremony held under the Northern Power machine, SED’s CEO Kevin Schulte commended and challenged the “Windplanners”, a name given to the group of students responsible for the project. “Go to college, continue to study renewable energy and help us rebuild this country by entering the green job force after you earn your degree.”

In order to bring this project to fruition, students acquired and applied real world understanding of economics, business planning, public policy and teamwork.  The tangible results of this unparalleled educational experience now tower over the campus as a symbol of community strength, unity and initiative. The Camden Hills Windplanners are an inspiration to the staff at SED and, as the company celebrates ten years of business, are a reminder of the spirit that led the company to start developing community wind and solar projects in the Northeastern United States. After successfully completing the Camden Hills 100kW installation, SED takes a newly invigorated sense of optimism and commitment forward into the next decade of community energy development.

Source: SED