In September 2004, Carleton completed work on a $1.8 million, 1.65 megawatt wind turbine, also known as the windmill. A dedication ceremony was held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 25th, which featured an appearance by Schiller. President Oden and several others jogged to the event. The wind turbine's site is 1.5 miles east of campus on Wall Street road. The wind turbine produces about as much energy as 30% of Carleton's electricity usage. Through a deal with Xcel Energy, Carleton sells electricity to the Xcel Energy grid and buys back electricity for its own use. This is in part because wind energy production does not necessarily coincide with Carleton's energy demand, particularly during the summer and winter break evenings, when very few people are on campus. Carleton's electrical grid is not structurally able to use the power directly from the generator.
In early October 2007, the turbine had mechanical problems and was shut down for repairs. Someone, on the Facilities Managgement web page, wrote that the turbine needed a new gear box. Replacement was done under warranty from the manufacturer. Repairs were delayed because the crane needed for the repairs wasn't available until in mid-November.
(See "Carleton's wind turbine is broken" in the November 2, 2007 Northfield News.)
Carleton announced plans for a second wind turbine, donated by Richard and Laurie Weiss Kracum '76. Construction was originally planned to begin in November of 2009. The plan called for the turbine to provide power directly to the campus.
The Carletonian reported on 1 October 2010, that plans for the second wind turbine were underway after complications and delays. Site selection and purchase of a turbine were, according to Noelani Kirschner's article, were nearly complete. Martha Larson, the manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability, said that installation was expected in the summer of 2011. (See "College moving forward with plan to build second wind turbine".)
The college made a public announcement about its intention to build a second wind turbine in mid-November 2010. According a press release, the plans depended upon municipal and county approvals, which have now been obtained, and the selection of the turbine which is underway.
The new turbine is located about a quarter mile southeast of the arboretum. The site is about a mile WNW of the first turbine, close to State Highway 19.
Construction of the second turbine was completed on October 2, 2011. On October 21, the college dedicated the new wind turbine, now known as the Kracum Wind Turbine. It is named for benefactors, Carleton alumni Laurie Weiss Kracum '76 and Rich Kracum '76.
St. Olaf College also constructed a wind turbine in 2006. Unlike Carleton's first generator, it supplies electricity directly to the St. Olaf campus. Surpluses, if any, are sold to Xcel Energy. The turbine stands very visibly along state highway 19, the primary route to Northfield from Interstate 35.
- Carleton Media Relations story about Wind Turbine Dedication
- Fact Sheet on Carleton's Wind Turbine
- Carleton Media Relations: "Carleton to Build Wind Turbine" (February 29, 2004)
- Northfield.org: Wind Turbine Update (Pictures)
- Northfield.org: St. Olaf wind turbine construction begins
- Carleton College windmill - Blurb in Science, October 2004
- 16 February 2011 article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune