The option of buying wind power could soon be available to
students living in the residence halls.
Currently, anyone in Fort Collins can buy wind power for an
extra 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour or in blocks of 200 or 400
kilowatt-hours for a set monthly rate. Wind power costs more to pay
for the construction of turbines, said John Bleem, division manager
of customer service for the Platte River Power Authority.
Right now, that option isn’t available to students living on
campus due to the way the university gets electricity from the
city. The university has one meter for all the electricity it uses,
as opposed to private homes, which have their own independent
“The city would offer (wind power) to the one meter that they
see,” said Carol Dollard, a utility engineer with CSU facilities
management. “But an individual student living in a residence hall
is not a direct customer of the city.”
Britta Schroeder, an Associated Students of CSU senator, wants
to extend the option of wind power to students living in the
Her bill, if passed, would request that Housing and Dining
Services help provide that option. Schroeder is proposing similar
legislation to the Residence Hall Association this coming
Schroeder, who represents the College of Natural Resources,
estimates a student living in the residence halls would pay an
extra $42 per year for the 1,600 kilowatt-hours of wind power the
average student uses. That would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by
2,400 pounds per year.
Due to the nature of the city’s power grid, wind power would not
flow directly to a student’s room and outlets.
“You wouldn’t be able to point and say ‘this light bulb is being
powered by the wind,'” Schroeder said.
The amount of electricity a customer used would be taken from
wind power and replace the equivalent of burned coal.
Some concern over wind power is that it is unreliable and that
the wind cannot power turbines on demand, Bleem said.
“(One reason) wind power is more expensive is because it only
runs one-third of the time,” Bleem said. “Hydro facilities, coal
facilities and gas facilities can run whenever they’re called
Customers will still have electricity even when the wind isn’t
blowing, however, because the Platte River Power Authority backs up
the wind power using other sources of energy, according to
www.fcgov.com. Over the course of a year, the wind energy produced
balances with the amount people use.
Schroeder conducted a survey in the spring of 2003 where 23 of
26 students in a stratified random sampling were in favor of wind
power at no extra cost to them. Only 12 of those 26 were willing to
pay an extra $15 dollars for wind power in their room. Only three
students were in favor of paying for wind power in general at an
extra cost to them.
Some senators on ASCSU point to this statistic and say that wind
power is not worth the effort if only three of 26 students are
“If we only have 1,000 students living in the residence halls to
pay for wind power, that’d be 1,000 more than we have now,”
Schroeder said. “Even if we got 10, I think that would still be
more than what we have now. It’s just an option, it’s not about
bringing an income and making something worth it. It’s giving the
students a choice.”
Some students may not want to pay an extra $42 each semester
when tuition is on the rise.
“I do support wind power, just because wind power is cleaner and
everything like that,” said Brian Hill, a sophomore electrical
engineering major. “But why can’t the residence hall pay it anyway,
I mean, it’s just $42. If Schroeder’s bill does pass, a committee
would most likely be formed to determine how to provide the option
of wind power to residence hall students, Dollard said.
One possibility is to have students sign up for wind power in
the same way they can rent a micro-fridge or loft in the residence
halls. Students check a box and send their $42 dollars. In turn the
university would buy 1,600 kilowatt-hours of wind power.
If the ASCSU bill does pass, Schroeder said the next step will
be setting up meetings with the administration, surveying students
and marketing the wind power to residence hall students.
“It’s really a matter of giving the students a choice,”