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Energy Department Supports Projects at 2 Climate-Commitment Signatories

Two new wind turbines at Mount Wachusett Community College will start generating energy in March.

Recently, two institutions announced that major renewable-energy projects were either underway or about to begin on their campuses. Although both colleges have had various sustainability initiatives in the works, you don’t usually see either among those rated as the nation’s greenest. So give credit where it’s due.

Mount Wachusett Community College, in Massachusetts, has been interested in renewable energy since the college adopted a biomass heating system in 2002 to replace its expensive electrical system. Now the college is setting up two 1.65-megawatt turbines that will cover all of the college’s electrical demand. Officials at the college expect the turbines to start generating power in March. The project will cost $9-million, and it will be covered through $3.2-million in U.S. Department of Energy grants, along with clean-energy bonds through the state and the federal stimulus package.

Mount Wachusett is a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and certainly these turbines will help the college get closer to its goal of climate neutrality.

Meanwhile, West Chester University, in southeast Pennsylvania, will use $5-million in grants from the Department of Energy to add three buildings to its geothermal system. The conversion of the three buildings will reduce emissions by 4.7 million pounds per year. (West Chester is also a climate-commitment signatory.)

The university already has 15 buildings on geothermal, and it plans to have 25 on the system within several years. University officials expect that the system will save West Chester $1-million a year when it’s done.

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