UB is First SUNY Campus to Purchase 'Clean' Wind Power

Release Date: October 1, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo announced today an agreement with Community Energy, Inc., that makes UB the first campus in the State University of New York system to buy a portion of its electrical power from a commercial supplier of wind-generated power.

UB also is the first institution of higher education in New York to purchase the output of an entire wind-powered 1.5-megawatt turbine.

While UB's initial purchase of "green" power amounts to just 2 percent of its substantial electrical load, the switch represents an annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the primary cause of global warming, of more than 5 million pounds, according to Community Energy. It also represents an annual reduction in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, by-products of burning fossil fuels that are components of acid rain and smog, of 30,000 pounds and 12,000 pounds, respectively.

The university has plans to purchase greater amounts of wind power in 2003, said Michael F. Dupre, UB associate vice president for university facilities.

"As an institution we traditionally have been very aggressive on energy conservation and sustainability issues," Dupre added. "This purchase of wind power is a natural outgrowth of what we've been doing."

Starting today, UB will pay a small premium to procure clean "green" power from the Fenner Wind Power Project located in the Town of Fenner in Madison County in Central New York. The project operates 20 huge 1.5-megawatt wind-driven generators connected to the New York power grid.

One of the 300-foot-tall wind generators now is designated the "University at Buffalo Wind Turbine."

One wind turbine's monthly output amounts to approximately 330,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 500 homes, according to Community Energy.

For commercial customers, wind-generated electricity costs less than two cents a kilowatt hour more than conventionally generated power.

While a bit more expensive, wind power, Dupre explained, offers substantial environmental benefits compared to the New York Independent System Operator (ISO) "spot market," the usual source of UB's electrical power.

Of the variety of fuel sources used to generate New York "spot market" electricity, 75 percent is generated by fossil-fuel sources and 32 percent of that amount is from burning coal.

"Burning fossil fuels, especially coal, produces acid rain and global warming-producing emissions," said Dupre. "Wind power produces no emissions."

With the purchase of wind power, Dupre said UB is responding enthusiastically to Gov. George E. Pataki's Executive Order 111, "Green and Clean," which requires all state facilities to procure a portion of their power from renewable sources such as hydro, biomass, wind and solar.

Under the governor's executive order, by 2005 state agencies are required to meet 10 percent of their electrical needs with environmentally friendly "green" power. That percentage will increase to 20 percent by 2010.

According to Dupre, this wind-power purchase is part of UB's environmentally responsible "green campus" program, which includes an aggressive recycling program and a commitment by many campus departments to use 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper for all copying and printing.

UB has responded to the governor's Executive Order 111 by establishing and/or empowering working groups in energy conservation, "green" building design, "green" power, energy-efficient purchasing, and alternative-fueled vehicles. All new UB building construction will meet or exceed the "green" building design and energy efficiency requirements of the executive order, according to Dupre.

UB's nationally recognized energy-conservation program is credited with saving more than $9 million in energy costs annually. Go to http://wings.buffalo.edu/ubgreen/ for details on UB's campus energy and environmental programs.

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