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Adrienne Downy, principal engineer for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and Janna Herndon, NYSERDA project manager, visited Wantagh Middle School students enrolled in the Creative Minds course, to talk about the benefits of renewable energy and, in particular, two wind turbine projects approved by the state.

The sixth grade Creative Minds course is taught by teachers Penni Miller, Nancy O’Connor and David Sposito and is one of various technology courses taught at Wantagh Middle School. In line with technology courses, the Creative Minds course emphasizes development of mental process skills, such as creative thinking, decision-making, critical thinking and problem-solving. During the fall, Creative Minds students studied wind energy and created wind turbines.

In addition to speaking about renewable energy, Ms. Downey explained the future of wind turbines to power homes and businesses throughout the metropolitan New York area and plans to “decarbonize” the power grid. She said that New York State’s goal includes 70% of electricity coming from renewable energy. She also described two Long Island offshore wind projects, the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects to be placed off of Jones Beach and Montauk, respectively. The turbine projects, Downey explained, will be places between 14 and 30 miles offshore and the turbines will stand as tall as the Statue of Liberty. 

“This will be happening in your lifetime,” Ms. Downey said. “There will be a lot of career opportunities to explore, so you should ask if this is a career for me.”