In a landmark decision, Mercyhurst College will acquire 10 percent of its electricity from wind power through Community Energy Inc. (CEI) of Wayne, Pa., representing the largest percentage commitment to wind power among colleges and universities in the state, tied only with Chatham College.Erie, Pennsylvania – April 21, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Wind resources represent a clean source of Renewable Energy technology and Mercyhurst is committed to taking the steps necessary to protect our environment and encourage sustainable development,” said Thomas Billingsley, executive vice president for administration. By purchasing 10 percent of its electricity from Community Energy wind farms, or the equivalent of one million kWhs annually, Mercyhurst “demonstrates both environmental leadership and a commitment to the community,” said CEI spokesman Byron Woodman, who pointed to Mercyhurst and Chatham as the current leading wind energy purchasers among higher education institutions in Pennsylvania. CEI brought the first wind plant online in Pennsylvania in December 1999 using specially designed turbines to capture the wind and generate power without using fuel or producing pollution. As a wind energy consumer, Mercyhurst will pay US$14,000 more per year for its electricity but, from an environmental standpoint, the savings are enormous, Billingsley noted. For instance, Mercyhurst will reduce by 580,560 pounds annually the amount of coal burned to produce its electricity. It will reduce by more than a million pounds carbon dioxide emissions, a major greenhouse gas implicated in global climate change; 7,180 pounds in sulfur dioxide, which contributes to acid rain and regional haze; and 2,338 pounds in nitrogen oxides, which contribute to ground-level ozone and smog. Billingsley also said he hopes Mercyhurst students reap the additional benefits of greater awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship. In a related development, Mercyhurst has joined the Pennsylvania Consortium for Interdisciplinary Environmental Policy, a network of 42 Pennsylvania colleges and universities, and the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources, whose combined goal is to enhance statewide environmental protection efforts.