In one of the biggest single purchases of renewable energy to date, Ohio State University will buy 50 megawatts (MW) of energy from the state's biggest wind farm.
That purchase means locally produced wind will supply 25% of the electricity on campus ... for 20 years, under a power purchase agreement signed with Iberdrola Renewables.
The 302 MW Blue Creek Wind Farm has been generating energy since June. The state-of-the-art wind farm has 152 turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty (476 feet high), and their blades reach out further than the wings of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
Ohio State will save about $1 million a year of the $35 million it spends on electricity. The wind energy sourcing contract will also move it closer to its goal of being carbon-neutral, says the Columbus Dispatch.
The university wanted to make the purchase sooner, but waited until wind prices came down. “We were willing to pay a premium for clean energy, but we still had to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” says Scott Potter, senior energy adviser to Ohio State.
In a first-of-its-kind provision, the contract gives university researchers access to Blue Creek. 400 researchers are studying rotor blade design and optimization, wind modeling, wind energy markets, and environmental issues related to wind.
“In addition to supporting renewable energy, this is a reflection on how Ohio State is integrating research and academics into our campus operations,” says Ron Sega, vice president and enterprise executive for energy and environment.