Carnegie Mellon University Makes Largest Wind Energy Purchase in U.S.
PITTSBURGH, PA — May 21, 2001 — Carnegie Mellon University will make the nation's largest single retail purchase of wind energy through an agreement announced by Carnegie Mellon, Community Energy, Inc., and Environmental Defense.
Carnegie Mellon will buy five percent of its total electricity next year from new wind power generated in western Pennsylvania. The purchase of wind-generated electricity, equivalent to the energy required by nearly 650 homes per year, is part of Carnegie Mellon's commitment to cleaner energy and the environment.
"Developing new technologies, policies and practices to protect and enhance our global environment is one of our strategic priorities," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "Our university is committed to using our research and education programs—as well as our own campus practices—to improve environmental quality, to provide leadership in environmentally sustainable practices and to support the development of wind power generation in Western Pennsylvania. We hope this effort will become a practical model for other universities and organizations."
Carnegie Mellon's wind energy will be generated by 1.5 megawatt wind turbines to be installed this fall at the Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farm at Mill Run, under construction in Springfield and Stewart Townships in Fayette County, about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The Mill Run project, consisting of 10 1.5-megawatt turbines, the largest wind farm announced in the eastern U.S. to date. The Carnegie Mellon wind energy purchase of 4,778 megawatt-hours will require more than an entire dedicated turbine to meet the demand.
"Carnegie Mellon's commitment to clean energy will protect human health by reducing pollution and help protect the planet from the threat of global warming," said Environmental Defense Executive Director Fred Krupp. "The university's purchase of wind power sends the clear signal that clean, renewable energy is a viable resource that will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Carnegie Mellon should be commended for its leadership in this arena."
Brent Alderfer, president of Community Energy, Inc., said, "By making the largest retail wind purchase ever, Carnegie Mellon University is leading the way for all of us. With the current attention on an impending energy crisis, it is both satisfying and responsible to use energy that generates no pollution and uses no fuel. Carnegie Mellon's decision to buy locally generated wind energy makes a contribution locally and globally. I can think of no better environmental commitment than for the university to power its laboratories and classrooms with pollution-free electricity."
John Hanger, spokesperson for The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) said, "Once again, Carnegie Mellon has shown leadership in its commitment to the community, our state, and the health of our people and the planet. More important, the university's actions show that doing right by the environment is also a good business decision. Their vision is one that can and should be copied by educational institutions, government, businesses and individuals throughout the Commonwealth."
The Carnegie Mellon wind purchase will reduce air pollution, thereby improving the environment and human health. Specifically, by moving from local coal-fired power plant production to wind power, the purchase will eliminate the equivalent of 13 tons of nitrogen oxides per year, a precursor of ozone smog; 35 tons of sulfur dioxide, which leads to acid rain; 5,100 tons of carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming; and 0.18 pounds of mercury, a pollutant that is toxic to humans and the environment. The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to planting nearly 19,000 acres of trees or taking more than 1,000 cars off the road.
Wind energy is the world's fastest growing form of electricity generation, meeting the growing demand for clean renewable energy. Wind turbines generate electricity with no emissions and no fuel at prices 2 to 3 cents per kWh above current generation costs. In addition to the environmental benefits, wind generation can offer stable 20-year prices because it is not subject to fuel price risks. Longer-term contracts offer the best price. Many analysts have pinpointed short-term contracts and skyrocketing fuel prices as key components to the dramatic collapse of electricity deregulation in California.
Community Energy, Inc. (CEI) was founded in fall 1999 to develop and market clean, renewable electricity. The company adds fuel-free, emission free, new renewable electricity to the electric grid. CEI partners with existing electric suppliers to make new renewable electricity available to as many commercial and residential customers as possible. CEI is working with Exelon Power Team and wind developers to bring 70 megawatts of new wind power on-line, which will almost triple the amount of wind energy in the eastern U.S.
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization based in New York, represents more than 300,000 members. Since 1967 they have linked science, economics and law to create innovative, equitable and cost-effective solutions to the most urgent environmental problems.
The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) is a coalition of businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies working together to build consumer interest in and demand for clean renewable energy. One of MAREC's projects is the Pennsylvania Wind Campaign, which encourages Pennsylvanians to purchase electricity generated from Pennsylvania wind farms.
Carnegie Mellon is a national research university of about 7,500 students and 3,000 faculty, research and administrative staff in Pittsburgh. Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie founded the institution in 1900. Carnegie Mellon is recognized internationally for excellence in technological fields such as computer science, robotics and engineering, and in various other fields including drama and the fine arts, cognitive psychology, business, management and public policy, and humanities and social sciences. Environmental education and research is one of four strategic areas of leadership identified by Carnegie Mellon in its strategic plan.
Carnegie Mellon Contact: Chriss Swaney (412) 268-2900
Community Energy Contact: Laury Saligman (415) 519-0616
Environmental Defense Contact: Natalie Patasaw (917) 847-5054
MAREC Contact: Jeanne Clark (412) 736-6092