Wind Power at CSU -1-

Dec 022004
Authors: Katie Kelley

Three years ago, a small group of citizens set out to bring sustainable lifestyles to CSU students.

After many dead-ends and wrong turns, the group made history this fall by offering CSU students living on campus wind power as an optional alternative electrical source.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation at a university, said Tonie Miyamoto, communications coordinator for Housing and Dining Services and a member of the CSU Recycling Committee.

"(The University of Colorado-Boulder) has a wind-power program, but it is not an optional choice," Miyamoto said.

Students and staff from several groups involved in initiating the program include members of Associated Students of CSU, Housing and Dining Services, Facilities Management, Residence Hall Association, Apartment Life and the city of Fort Collins Utilities. The program was passed last spring by ASCSU.

"A small committee of people went down several dead-end roads and it took three years until the administration agreed to do the program," said Carol Dollard, utility engineer at Facilities Management.

The program allows students living in residence halls and university apartments to pay the price difference of the electricity, which is normally included in the total price of their rooms. For students living in the residence halls, the cost is $17 for a whole year of wind power electricity. Students in university apartments pay $26 per semester or $52 for the whole year.

Almost 200 students have already purchased wind power for the entire year.

"We were very pleased, being that this was the first year," Dollard said. "I think the problem we have is marketing to first-year students. We send out fliers inside of the incoming freshmen packets, which are half an inch thick and it's hard to sort through."

Because of the program, students are helping to save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the air. An average of 1,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity are used in the residence halls alone, Miyamoto said.

"Every person that signed up is making a difference in the greater Fort Collins area regarding pollution," said Pete McGuire, senator for applied human sciences at ASCSU. McGuire is part of the environmental affairs committee at ASCSU that helped with the initiative.

"We weren't really sure how many people would sign up for the program; but any response is better than none," McGuire said.

While wind power at CSU has taken a slow yet successful start, some are still hesitant.

Only students living on campus can purchase the wind-power alternative. It is not yet an option for professors to use it in their offices. However, Dollard said, if there is interest it could become a possibility for in the future.

Students interested in purchasing wind power for their residence halls or university apartments can call Dollard at 491-0151.

"I think the wind-power initiative is exciting and CSU Recycling Committee has set forth, as its goal, to have 10 percent of resident students using the program," Miyamoto said. "I believe the program will continue to grow and help make CSU green."

Poudre River Power Authority, which has a wind farm at Medicine Bow, Wyo., is the wholesale provider of wind power for Fort Collins Utilities.

"The wind farms run year-round; they're not affected by the change of seasons," Miyamoto said.

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