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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

SUNY Potsdam Dedicates First Campus Wind Turbine

October 27, 2021

SUNY Potsdam Celebrates Completion of New Wind Turbine, Locally Produced by Ducted Wind Turbines, to Support Campus Renewable Energy Goals 

From left, SUNY Potsdam environmental studies students Zoey Fiber '22, Delaney Aubertine '23, and Grace Romer '24 attend the unveiling of SUNY Potsdam's new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine.

In a fitting celebration of National Sustainability Day, SUNY Potsdam officially dedicated the campus’s first wind turbine today in a collegial celebration, along with local leaders and partners from Clarkson University. 

SUNY Potsdam’s new 3.5 kilowatt turbine is locally produced by Ducted Wind Turbines, founded by Clarkson faculty member Dr. Kenneth Visser. Leaders from both campuses were on hand to help flip the switch to test out the blades in the breeze, following a ceremony at the turbine site, located on Outer Main Street. 

“This project was made possible through numerous levels of imagination and innovation. We are a community that cares about these issues and acts on opportunities to make a difference. This is the Potsdam way. Today further reflects the values of the North Country. We are grateful to have local leaders joining us to observe energy-efficient progress in this region.”

-SUNY Potsdam Officer-in-Charge Dr. John L. Graham

Silhouetted against the sky, SUNY Potsdam's Officer-in-Charge Dr. John Graham speaks during a press conference to unveil SUNY Potsdam's new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine. 

 

SUNY Potsdam's Officer-in-Charge Dr. John Graham, left, greets Clarkson University President Tony Collins, during a press conference to unveil SUNY Potsdam's new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine. 

Ducted Wind Turbines founder Dr. Kenneth Visser addresses the media during a press conference to unveil SUNY Potsdam's brand new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine.

“The partnership here between SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson is demonstrated very physically right behind me today,” said Clarkson University President Dr. Anthony Collins, looking up at the new turbine. “The idea that they would look across the river and see the technology that’s being developed right here in Potsdam is wonderful—and this is world-challenging technology.” 

SUNY Potsdam’s new turbine is an important milestone in the College’s progress toward SUNY’s ambitious renewable energy goals, and will also be used as an educational resource for the environmental studies program and other courses across the curriculum. 

“For those who are curious, this turbine produces 3.5 kilowatts indefinitely, but it can also produce up to 12 kilowatts in really windy conditions, so that’s exciting… Putting this turbine here today makes SUNY part of our research field testing team. We are constantly reviewing the data, and we reserve the right to make free upgrades. So, it’s really great to get another field unit out there,” said Visser, who is both the co-founder of Ducted Wind Turbines and an associate professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at Clarkson. “To SUNY Potsdam, thank you so much for being an early adopter.” 

As designed by Visser, the Ducted Wind turbines can produce more than twice the energy of a conventional open bladed wind turbine of the same rotor diameter. The company is focused on providing the lowest cost per kilowatt-hour in the small turbine market in an effort to improve the quality of life on our planet. 

Nathan Carr ’18, SUNY Potsdam’s energy manager and sustainability coordinator, worked to make the project possible by leveraging New York State’s investment in making campus facilities more energy-efficient, in order to start producing clean power as well. The funding for the project came from efficiency incentives provided through a National Grid rebate program, allowing the campus to invest in local green energy. 

SUNY Potsdam's Officer-in-Charge Dr. John Graham shakes hands with Nathan Carr, SUNY Potsdam's energy manager and sustainability coordinator, during a press conference to unveil the College's new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine. 

“For me, this is all about helping and giving back to our environmental studies program, which I once was a student in myself. I believe the future is going to see a large increase in renewable energy, and I hope this will give our students interest and knowledge for when they enter the workforce or go on to further education,” Carr said. 

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Dr. Katherine Cleary pointed to statistics showing that even during the worst of the pandemic, the only energy sector that actually added jobs was wind electricity generation, and pointed out that the solar and wind industries already employ more people than electric generation from coal, gas and oil combined. She added that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists wind turbine technicians and solar photovoltaic installation as among the top five fastest growing occupations for the next decade. 

Katherine Cleary, an assistant professor of environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam, attends a press conference to unveil SUNY Potsdam's new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine. 

“Having our own wind turbine on campus benefits our environmental studies program in many ways. It will provide us with hands-on learning opportunities to take ‘field trips’ to learn how the turbine works, up close and personal. We will use the data generated through the Ducted Wind dashboard for class projects,” Cleary said. “These activities will ultimately help us better prepare our students for careers in the field of renewable energy, which is a growth sector in the U.S.” 

SUNY Potsdam Environmental Club President Grace Romer ’24 was joined at the event by her excited classmates and friends—all thrilled to see the turbine spin for the first time. Romer is majoring in environmental studies and political science, and minoring in sustainability and wilderness education, inspired by her personal drive to protect the Earth and combat climate change. 

Grace Romer '24, who is pursuing a double major in environmental studies and political science at SUNY Potsdam, speaks to the media during a press conference to unveil SUNY Potsdam's brand new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine.

The new turbine, which produces 3.5 kilowatts, can also produce up to 12 kilowatts in really windy conditions. The turbine will provide power to SUNY Potsdam's new HEARTH building.

 

SUNY Potsdam Environments studies students attend a press conference to unveil a new wind turbine at SUNY Potsdam on Oct. 27. 

SUNY Potsdam's Officer-in-Charge Dr. John Graham, right center, and SUNY Potsdam Assistant Professor Katherine Cleary, left center, pose for a portrait with Cleary’s environmental studies students following the unveiling of the College’s brand new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine following a press conference at SUNY Potsdam on Oct. 27. 

 

From left, Clarkson University President Tony Collins, SUNY Potsdam student Grace Romer '24, Ducted Wind Turbines founder Dr. Kenneth Visser, and SUNY Potsdam's Officer-in-Charge Dr. John Graham pose for a portrait at the base of SUNY Potsdam's brand new 3.5 kilowatt wind turbine during a press conference Wednesday morning. 

“Although I am only a second-year student at SUNY Potsdam, I have witnessed the power in my campus community and the ability for change to be made, trailblazed by the powerful, strong voices and actions of students and faculty. Today, we are collectively witnessing the commencement of on-site renewable energy on our campus and a substantial step into the future of domestic renewable energy that will take part in revitalizing our environment and improving the quality of life for all species,”

- Grace Romer '24

“This wind turbine produced locally at Ducted Wind Turbines, which is committed to implementing affordable small wind energy for all, will act as an educational, living laboratory where SUNY Potsdam classes can come observe and perform assessments on the wind turbine’s functionality and impact. Not only will this wind turbine serve higher-education endeavors, but it will serve as a community symbol, representing the growth and gravity of renewable energy for a sustainable now,” Romer said. 

SUNY Potsdam is nationally ranked in the 2022 Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges, and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Its environmental studies program is truly interdisciplinary, incorporating courses from 14 different departments to prepare environmental leaders for the future. 

About SUNY Potsdam:  
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.  

About Clarkson University:  
As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. We ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,300 students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions. Our alumni earn salaries that are among the top 2% in the nation and realize accelerated career growth. One in five already leads as a CEO, senior executive or owner of a company. To learn more about Clarkson University, go to www.clarkson.edu. 

For Media Inquiries

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke

jacobsam@potsdam.edu (315) 267-2918

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