(KCPW News) The University of Utah is being recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Green Power Challenge” for purchasing the third-largest amount of green electricity of all the colleges and universities in the competition. That amounts to more than 85 million kilowatt-hours, or an estimated 31 percent of the university’s total power consumption.
“Every semester that someone registers for classes at the University of Utah, they pay a dollar, and so that allows the university to buy renewable power with this money,” says Ashley Patterson, Outreach and Education Coordinator for the U of U’s Office of Sustainability.
She explains the program was initiated by students in 2004. It includes renewable energy credits purchased through Sterling Planet, mostly for wind power, and two small solar installations.
Patterson says when it comes to spending money on renewable energy, there are trade-offs between the different options.
“If we put more money into buying solar panels on campus, we’ll have less renewable energy coming onto the grid, but it’s perhaps more visual and educational,” says Patterson.
She says there will be another request for proposals process this summer for the university’s renewable energy program.