University Makes Second Largest Green Power Commitment

In one of the largest renewable energy commitments from a college or University, the Western Washington University board of trustees approved a student fee to be used for the purchase of renewable energy power.

Western will be the second largest purchaser of green power in higher education and the 15th largest purchaser of green energy overall, according to administration officials. “We are very proud that our students have taken a leadership position in helping our world emphasize the use of renewable energy,” said John Warner, chair of the board of trustees. “This is symbolic of what Western students and graduates do with their education.” In spring 2004, a WWU student initiative on green energy passed with 84.7 percent approval and student leaders and university administrators have been working cooperatively to study what is needed to implement a renewable energy program at Western. “The university is extremely pleased with the commitment the students have made to renewable energy,” Western’s President Karen W. Morse said. “The vision and resolve they’ve demonstrated as they’ve researched green energy options and communicated their ideas to other students have been impressive, providing leadership that places Western at the forefront among higher education nationally in the area of sustainable energy.” The trustee approval also provides permission to university officials to begin negotiating with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to purchase green energy resources from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the wholesale supplier for PSEs green power program. PSEs green power program includes wind and solar resources in its mix. “This initiative has transformed the voice of students at Western into action, will increase PSE’s green power program by 50 percent, and has highlighted WWU as a leader in the shift toward the use of renewable energy resources,” said Teizeen Mohamedali, a member of Students for Renewable Energy, a student group that proposed the initiative and has been working with university administrators on its implementation. Rachel Zommick, WWU Associated Students President said the successful initiative resulted from the combined work of students, university administrators and the support of the board of trustess. “I also want to single out our students for their willingness to think creatively and then to act on their determination to preserve our natural resources,” Zommick said. The trustees will review the fee amount this summer following negotiations with PSE.
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