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Harvard set to employ wind energy for campuses by 2010

Published: Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 07:12


Alexandra Lacayo / Tufts Daily

Harvard plans to use wind power from Maine to meet 10 percent of the university’s electricity needs.

Wind blowing across Maine will soon power 10 percent of Harvard University's campuses in Cambridge and Allston, if all goes according to the school's plans.

Harvard on Nov. 2 made a 15-year agreement to purchase wind power from the Boston-based company First Wind, continuing the college's pursuit of eco-friendly energy solutions.

The deal will make Harvard the largest institutional buyer of wind power in New England.

Harvard's new power source will come from First Wind's planned facility, known as Stetson II, located near Danforth, Maine. It is scheduled to begin operations by mid-2010 and will feature 17 General Electric turbines. Construction began on the facility on Nov. 23.

Stetson II is an extension of the Stetson I facility, which was completed in January. When Stetson II is completed, the two power arrays will form the "largest operational utility-scale wind farm in New England," according to First Wind's Web site.

The wind power agreement complements a long line of "green" efforts at Harvard. The university has 64 buildings and projects that are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified, denoting that they have passed several environmental standards.

Mary Smith, manager of energy supply and utility administration at Harvard, told the Daily that the purchase of wind power is "a nice opportunity to contribute to sustainability, as the wind project is reliable and provides Harvard with a stable price over the years," referring to the cost of powering the university.

Tufts has also made strides in establishing renewable resources on campus that thrive on wind power.

Sophia Gordon Hall, Tufts' newest dormitory, was completed in 2006 and is the first building on campus to be built in line with LEED standards.

Tina Woolston, project coordinator for Tufts' Office of Sustainability, said that the university has purchased wind renewable energy certificates for the past three to four years that offset the cost of the clean power usage in Sophia Gordon Hall.

The university is also investigating the feasibility of a wind turbine on the campus in Grafton, Mass., Woolston said.

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