University to Meet 20% Electrical Needs through Renewable Energy

Penn State has awarded contracts to meet more than 20 percent of its electrical energy needs through renewable energy sources for the next five years. This builds on a previous purchase made in 2001 for a five-year wind energy through contract that provided for five percent of the University’s annual electrical energy needs.

“Under the 2001 contracts, when wind energy was our only renewable energy option, the University paid $14.00 per megawatt-hour (MWH). Under the new contracts, with other sources now available, we are paying an average of $5.00 per MWH,” said Michael I. Prinkey, energy program engineer in the Office of Physical Plant. Prinkey said the Office of Physical received proposals from multiple vendors and awarded contracts to Community Energy, for Pennsylvania-based wind energy; 3 Phases Energy, for national wind and biomass energy; and Sterling Planet, for low-impact certified hydroelectric. The contracts also make new-technology (solar and biomass), on-site renewable energy projects possible without a capital investment. According to Prinkey, the Office of Physical Plant established goals for its greenhouse gas reduction initiative based on the purchase of renewable energy making up 10 percent of the University’s total energy use. “Now with 20 percent coming from renewable energy sources,” he said, “we will be making a much greater contribution to that effort. And we’re encouraging reduced consumption and the use of energy-efficient products on the part of the University community to add to that greenhouse gas reduction.”
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