Mason Purchases Wind-Produced Energy in Support of Climate Action Plan

December 20, 2011Print-Friendly Version

By Robin Herron

Article updated 12-20, 2:25 p.m.

For the first time, Mason has purchased “green power” produced by wind energy, the Office of Sustainability has announced.

Specifically, the university purchased 5,623 megawatts of green power, which is equivalent to 5 percent of the university’s total annual energy usage. This commitment is similar to removing the same amount of carbon dioxide that 560 cars produce on the road each year, or planting more than 73,000 trees.

According to Margaret Lo, sustainability assistant manager, the green power purchased comes from both our local energy grid and from the Midwest, and helps support the growth of the wind power industry.

The effort is another step toward meeting the goals of Mason’s Climate Action Plan, which aims for the university to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The Climate Action Plan was developed in support of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Mason plans to gradually increase its purchases of green power, Lo says, with a target of 10 percent of the university’s energy usage in 2012 and 2013, and 15 percent in 2014.

And, if you’re interested in making a difference yourself, Lo suggests, “You can do simple things to help Mason, like sign the climate pledge or reduce your energy consumption by turning off lights and unplugging unused appliances or electronics.”

2 Responses

  1. Steve Gerber says on:

    Where exactly are the windmill farms? More specifically, are there any in Virginia, or off the Virginia seacoast? Just curious. And, is this energy cheaper or more expensive than that from coal-fired electricity generation?

  2. Chris Baumgartner says on:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your question. We are looking into this, but have to wait for our vendor to audit this purchase, since “local wind” is a fraction of our total REC purchase. We should know details this spring. The majority of the wind purchase is from Kansas and it is more expensive than coal-fired electricity. Thanks for your interest and stay tuned.

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