Hobart and William Smith Colleges announced on Aug. 6, 2002 that they are the first higher education institution in New York State to enroll in a program to utilize wind power as an alternative energy source. The announcement was made in conjunction with New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Community Energy, Inc., suppliers of wind-powered energy.
“Hobart and William Smith Colleges are proud to be the first higher education institution in New York State to incorporate wind power as an energy source for our campus. We believe that alternative sources of energy can and must be used by organizations large and small, as well as in the private sector, to reduce our country’s dependence on oil and coal and to provide for a cleaner environment for future generations,” said Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Wind power energy will provide about 5 percent of our annual electricity needs and roughly meet the electricity load for an academic building, such as the one currently under construction.
“This purchase accomplishes several things: it reduces our reliance on fossil fuels; reduces the associated emissions of greenhouse gases; shows our students and the community the feasibility of using alternative energy sources; and illustrates our commitment to such alternative energy usages. Over the coming years, we hope to increase the share of wind and other alternative energy sources used on our campus. We hope that Hobart and William Smith will serve as a model for other colleges and universities, and that they will join us in taking advantage of ‘greener’ sources of energy for their campuses.”
Today’s announcement coincided with the launch of NYSEG’s program providing its electricity customers the opportunity to purchase blocks of New Wind Energy®, a product of program partner Community Energy, Inc.
According to NYSEG, residential customers will be allowed to purchase 100 kilowatt-hour “blocks” of wind power energy. More details will be sent to NYSEG customers in their monthly statements.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Professor of Economics Thomas Drennen explained the benefits of wind-powered energy. “The advantages of wind-powered energy are exactly what I teach to my students,” he said. “With a new building under construction that will use approximately the same amount of energy as what we are purchasing, this helps to lessen the environmental impact of campus growth.”
It is also worth noting that the idea for the Colleges to use wind-powered energy came about through the efforts of recent Hobart graduate, Michael Vaillant ’02, of Binghamton, N.Y., who worked on an energy project with the Colleges’ Building and Grounds department as part of his coursework. This effort was also supported by the student-run Campus Greens organization.
“Mike got all of us very interested in wind-powered energy so that when this opportunity with NYSEG came along, we were already knowledgeable and ready to incorporate it into our current energy usage,” said Paul Bringewatt, director of Administrative Services. “It’s great when a student can offer all of that enthusiasm and knowledge and help make things happen.”
Several newspapers wrote stories August 7 about the Colleges’ purchase of wind power: