Steve Bowron, dean of Riverland Community College’s Albert Lea campus There just happens to be a spot that has the best opportunity for wind.

Bowron said the wind turbine and solar panel will be used in training Riverland Community college students in alternative energy and said they will be accessible to Albert Lea schools, too.

The wind turbine, solar panel and their installation have an expected price tag of $180,000 to $200,000, Bowron said. Construction is planned to start this summer, if the permit process goes well.

We’re going to have a footprint for alternative energy in the college, in the community, Bowron said.

The state Legislature in 2008 appropriated around $260,000 to Riverland Community college for alternative-energy education in Albert Lea. The curriculum springs out of the industrial maintenance and mechanics program and construction electrician program.

As the training program was being developed, the college found the need for a wind-turbine technician, and the Minnesota State College and Universities System awarded grants.

The college leveraged the legislative appropriation to secure a $54,000 grant from the 360 manufacturing and Applied Energy Center for Excellence to purchase equipment, such as machines for infrared images, vibration analysis and laser alignment. And the college got a Perkins approval for $48,500.

The college then secured funding of $204,000 from Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace. Nicknamed MN Wired, it is an industrial consortium that seeks to transform the ag-dependent economies in southern and west central Minnesota. One emphasis is on renewable energy.

There are scholarships obtainable for the wind-energy program’s first-year students. The students will use the turbine to learn maintenance and monitoring, Bowron said.