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Wind Stakeholder Interview: Pennsylvania State University

Ford Stryker, Paul Ruskin, Dave Burns, Doug Donovan

From left: Ford Stryker, chairman of the Env. Strategy for Finance and Business; Paul Ruskin, OPP Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator; Dave Burns, Mgr of Utilities Services; Doug Donovan, Energy Program Engineer.

Wind Stakeholder Interview: Pennsylvania State University

Date: 6/1/2002

Location: University Park, PA

"Penn State is proud to be a part of bringing new wind generation to the east. Wind energy is great for Pennsylvania's environment and economy. It creates jobs, boosts income for farmers, returns former strip mine land to productive use, and contributes to our nation's energy independence. We hope Penn State's commitment will inspire others to buy wind energy." Ford Stryker, Deputy for Management of Physical Plant and chairman of the Environmental Strategy for Finance and Business, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

In November 2001, Penn State University entered into a five-year contract with Community Energy Inc. (CEI) to purchase wind energy certificates equivalent to 5% of the load of the University Park Campus. Under the agreement, the university will purchase 13.2 million kWh of certificates annually, representing the annual output of more than three, 1.5-MW wind turbines.

We felt the university had a role to play in helping the emerging renewable energy market. In addition, through the purchase of wind energy, the university saw an opportunity to demonstrate its support for:

  • Pennsylvania agriculture - Penn State began as an agricultural college ad we want to provide additional sources of revenue for farmers.
  • The reduction of global warming - Through our purchase of wind energy, we are offsetting coal and other fossil fuel generation emissions in the state because the wind project is located in Pennsylvania.
  • Environmental programs and policies - We are already state leaders in recycling, and through the purchase of wind energy, we can position the university as a leader in promoting clean energy.
  • Connecting our teaching with our actions - Our professors teach ecology courses and it's appropriate that Penn State operates within the same ethical/ecological context.

Although wind energy costs a little more than traditional energy sources, after evaluating various green power purchasing options, we determined that wind energy certificates were the least-cost renewable energy option. The university was able to pay the extra cost of the wind power through its existing facilities budget. We were able to justify paying a premium for our electricity because a clean energy purchase is consistent with both the Governor's goal of having state facilities purchase green power and the objective of the university's Environmental Strategy Initiative to conduct "its business in a manner that demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship, and to move the University toward sustainable practices." This year, Penn State is purchasing certificates from an additional turbine to offset 5% of the electricity consumption at satellite campuses.

This information was last updated on August 02, 2011