UMM is #1 in something!


Environment America has noticed that my campus has made a big accomplishment in renewable energy.

The University of Minnesota (UMN), Morris leads in producing renewable electricity on its own campus. The university produces about 60 percent of its electricity needs with two commercial-scale wind turbines, and also powers one of its residence halls with a 20-kW solar PV installation.

Switching to renewable energy sources is a very big deal at this campus. I know one of our goals is 100% energy independence, and the turbines are just the beginning — we also have a biomass gasifier on campus, which has been off to a slow start, but it’s part of a grand plan to lead the way in sustainable energy production.

You can read more at our page on Renewable Energy Initiatives.

Comments

  1. doubtthat says

    Very cool, and also interesting to hear that just two wind turbines can provide that much energy. I didn’t have a good mental picture of how much power those generate, and that’s certainly an impressive amount.

  2. DanDare says

    We are having an election here in oz. The incumbent conservatives have reframed the whole issue as being about power prices. They are telling everyone that coal power is the only hope for their hip pocket.

  3. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The university produces about 60 percent of its electricity needs with two commercial-scale wind turbines, and also powers one of its residence halls with a 20-kW solar PV installation.

    Probably lies. I am not saying that PZ is lying here. He’s just a patsy to these near-certain lies.

    These claims are being made by comparing total energy produced vs total energy consumed. In other words, it’s treating electricity as a commodity, but electricity is not a commodity; it’s a service. The buidlings don’t merely need some lump sum of energy in the form of electricity being delivered at arbitrary points in time. It’s not a commodity. Rather, they need a certain amount of electricity of a certain voltage and frequency to be delivered, reliably, every second of the day.

    These places are attached to the electricity grid, and most of the actual electricity that they consume is going to be from traditional sources, ie coal, natural gas, hydro, nuclear.

    The total electricity storage in the state is probably a few tens of minutes in terms of total grid demand, and definitely no more than a few hours, and that’s assuming that you use every battery in every car and truck. I know that Michael Shellenberger and his group did work to calculate that number for California, and it came out to some similarly small number.

    This methodology is completely bogus, and it leads to completely inappropriate and unsupported conclusions, like the notion that it’s all practical or possible to use renwables to power your buildings and be energy independent. In that context, the original perpetrators of this should have known better that this anecdote does not support their conclusions because of the grid connection.

    Also, shame on you PZ for falling forand repeating here, such an obvious lie.

  4. says

    Hey- I live in the toasty hot desert (115 frequently, hottest I remember is 122) and we have a small solar setup on our roof. We aren’t off the grid yet, but I used to pay over a thousand a month for electricity in August and September. Now I pay a thousand a year. The kilowatts I generate at off-peak times and during the spring and winter don’t do much to offset the cost, because SoCal Edison doesn’t pay a lot for the power going back into the grid. Battery farms are just starting to get online here in California to even out the usage. I guess the roughly 1000 wind turbines down the hill from me in Banning Pass are just spreading cancer cooties around and killing birds.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I guess the roughly 1000 wind turbines down the hill from me in Banning Pass are just spreading cancer cooties and killing birds.

    You laugh, and you present that as a joke, but it’s actually true. Wind turbines do cause cancer (not in the way that you think),

    https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/big-winds-dirty-little-secret-rare-earth-minerals/

    and wind turbines are a huge driver of extinction of endangered birds and also of some bats.

    We’ve all heard the dishonest description that cats kill more birds than wind turbines. While superficially true, it misses the point: Cats don’t kill eagles and other endangered birds of prey. Eagles kill cats. What kills eagles and other big endangered birds of prey? Wind turbines. Also, wind turbines are driving other species to extinction, like the hoary bat.

    Wind turbines get a pass on the endangered species act; wind turbines have the virtually unique legal ability to kill endangered bird species. If it was anything but a poster-child Green tech that was causing this much ecological damage, the Greens would be up-in-arms, demanding that the stuff be shut down to protect the environment. Not so here. Fucking hypocrites.

    https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2017/05/04/wind-powers-dirty-little-secret-dead-eagles/

    http://www.batcon.org/resources/media-education/news-room/press-releases/1055-press-release-bats-and-wind

  6. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL is like King Canute–commanding the tide of renewable energy to stop.

  7. John Morales says

    Exactly. Canute was making a point about the futility of the endeavour — EL is more like Don Quijote, tilting at windmills despite the futility.

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