Western Technical College To Repurpose Old Dam

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Finding multiple uses for facilities is common at Western Technical College. Instead of mowing the lawn on a regular basis, firefighting students practice controlled burns on a prairie. A pond supplying water for a fire suppression system also doubles as a place to for police and fire students to practice underwater rescues.

Now the school plans to use an old dam on the La Crosse River to help save money on electricity.

The school has purchased the Angelo Dam from Monroe County and will install a hydroelectric turbine. The plan is to sell the power generated by the dam to the local electric utility. If the dam produces as expected, the school could receive roughly $100,000 a year for at least 10 years.

The initial installation of the turbine would cost $1.5 million, according to the school. The operating cost would start at $19,500 and increase roughly 3% each year. The earliest projections have the school breaking even after 18 years.

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