University Of Colorado Students Make Campus No. 1 In Wind Power

Published: Sept. 18, 2000

Photo opportunity: There will be a tour of the Ponnequin wind farm (off I-25 just south of the Wyoming border) where the CU wind turbine is located on Friday, Sept. 22, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. For information and directions to the wind farm contact Ghita Levenstein at (303) 492-3229.

Thanks to the efforts of students, the University of Colorado at Boulder is the largest university purchaser of wind power in the nation.

The CU Buffalo emblem -- displayed by many proud graduates and university backers on T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and flags -- has now climbed to the top of a 2 million-kilowatt-hour producing wind turbine.

The emblem is on the top of one of Xcel Energy’s (formerly Public Service Co. of Colorado) Ponnequin wind farm wind turbines in recognition of CU-Boulder students’ purchase of wind power for the university’s energy needs. The wind farm is located near Interstate 25 just south of the Wyoming border.

The CU-Boulder wind turbine will be celebrated at a university reception on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from noon to 1 p.m. in the CU Heritage Center in Old Main. Will Toor, director of the CU Environmental Center and mayor of Boulder, and Anthony Goodman, tri-executive of the University of Colorado Student Union, will be two of several speakers at the reception.

In April 2000, CU-Boulder students voted by a 5-to-1 margin to increase student fees by a dollar per semester for four years to purchase wind power. The fee increase will raise $50,000 per year, enough to purchase the output of an entire wind turbine – the CU-Boulder wind turbine.

"I continue to be impressed with the creative energy of our CU-Boulder community as we proactively engage in environmental stewardship," said Vice Chancellor for Administration Paul Tabolt.

The clean, renewable electricity generated by the turbine will reduce campus emissions by 1,400 tons of carbon dioxide, 14,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 10,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides each year, according to Ghita Levenstein, the energy program coordinator of the Environmental Center at CU-Boulder.

"CU students have a history of environmental leadership and this is a prime example," Levenstein said. "What this purchase is doing is paying for the farm to produce wind power for the grid."

The CU Environmental Center was started in 1970 by the students who organized the first Earth Day at CU. It has grown to be the largest state-run environmental center in the country.