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Oklahoma State University moves forward with wind power project

A deal between OSU and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. that would place a new 60-megawatt wind farm near Blackwell received approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in late February. OSU officials hope to see the project come on line later this year.
by Silas Allen Published: April 27, 2012

“Naturally, we were very interested,” he said.

In addition to cost savings, the university will also be able to reduce its carbon footprint by about 66 percent, Krysiak said. The electricity the university buys now comes from coal-fired power plants, he said, making that power the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases.

Boiler-chiller facility

While wind power will provide electricity to the campus, the university plans to build a boiler and chiller facility to provide heat, steam and air conditioning to the campus. That plant will be powered with natural gas, he said, meaning the university will be taking advantage of two of the most abundant resources in Oklahoma.

“We've got the best of both worlds,” he said.

The project isn't OSU's first venture into energy cost saving. In January, OSU officials announced they had saved $17.5 million on utility costs since the university implemented its energy savings plan in 2007.

Krysiak said the university has realized much of that savings by doing things like shutting off lights and equipment at night.

In a Jan. 9 letter to the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education and presidents of Oklahoma's public colleges and universities, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin asked all public colleges and universities statewide to implement similar energy usage plans.

In the letter, Fallin says higher education “accounts for the largest energy consumption in the state,” meaning colleges and universities have a major role to play in cost-cutting efforts.

Fallin estimates the state could save $290 million over 10 years by implementing a statewide energy-savings plan.