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U Delaware Campus To Go GHG Neutral with Wind

The University of Delaware in Newark has signed an agreement with Spain-based Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica to install a utility-scale two-megawatt Gamesa wind turbine at the university's Lewes Campus in 2010. A typical 2-MW turbine provides enough emissions-free electricity to power about 500 homes; so the single turbine is expected to provide clean, carbon-free electricity for the entire campus.

UD administrators chose wind power to meet its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint owing to the favorable winds in the coastal area of Lewes. At times, the turbine is expected to generate more than enough power for the campus; the excess will be fed to the electric grid.

U Delaware and Gamesa said they intend to locate the turbine on land to the north and west of campus buildings. Final details about size and location will be determined following additional meetings with regulators and the public. The land-based campus turbine is expected to stand approximately 400 feet high from its tower base to the apex of its blade at peak rotation. Each of the turbine's three blades will be about 140 feet long.

In addition to generating electricity, the project will allow the two organizations to research turbine corrosion, avian impacts, and policy issues related to renewable energy. By 2011 or 2012, they said in a statement, they may establish an offshore wind turbine.

"We are excited to be able to reduce our carbon footprint at the Lewes campus and at the same time undertake research on and provide educational opportunities for a technology that will be part of tomorrow's economy," said College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) Dean Nancy Targett.

Targett and CEOE professors Jeremy Firestone and Willett Kempton conceived the project. Firestone and Kempton have studied the amount of power supplied by Delaware's offshore winds as well as public reaction to and policies for wind-energy use.

The university and Gamesa said they expect the wind turbine to be in operation and generating electricity by the spring of 2010.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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