The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) has announced a private-public partnership with the non-profit organization REpowering Schools to expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curricula and to help students explore a career in the renewable-energy workforce.
Working through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), DOE initiated the Wind for Schools project in 2005 and currently supports K-12 and university-level STEM efforts in 12 states. As part of these efforts, more than 145 small wind turbines have been installed at host schools across the nation, providing examples of wind energy to many communities.
The Wind for Schools project has provided thousands of students, at all grade levels, with wind-energy lesson plans developed with the KidWind Project and National Energy Education Development Project. The Wind for Schools project also helps develop a future wind-energy workforce by encouraging students at higher-education institutions to join Wind Application Centers and serve as project consultants for small wind turbine installations at rural elementary and secondary schools.
In 2016, WETO and NREL began working with the Distributed Wind Energy Association to engage with industry stakeholders interested in expanding the wind-energy and renewable-energy workforce. After a year devoted to developing a governance structure that aligns with the Wind for Schools principles, the REpowering Schools organization is ready to help expand the impact of DOE’s Wind for Schools project. The new national REpowering Schools organization will provide resources to help educators integrate renewable-energy curriculum and materials into primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools to engage, educate, and inspire the next generation of the renewable-energy workforce.