Student loans int he US reached $1.2 trillion and many coeds are drowning in debt because of rising tuition fees caused by soaring the costs of running a school. In order to keep energy costs in check and reduce their carbon footprint, a number of American universities are turning to clean energy initiatives like buying wind power.
Ohio State University, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University have already started enjoying positive economic impacts, aside from improving their sustainability ratings. Ohio State University saves a US$1M a year, while Oklahoma State University is expected to save more than $10M over 20 years from their wind farm. Other higher education institutions have followed suit with many opting for short term wind power purchase agreements (PPAs), while others going for long term ones like University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State that have 20 year agreements with wind farm developers.
Fort Hays University (FHU) in Hays, Kansas was able to keep costs and tuition fees in check by going for wind power. While tuition in universities in Kansas have gone up by 4%, Fort Hays has been able keep it in check at two percent thanks in part to the two wind turbines they installed.
It also helps that around 700 university presidents signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This is a pledge they make on behalf of their institutions to make significant changes to reduce their adverse environmental impact.
Hopefully, the costs of making these changes will not be gone with the wind. By going for wind power, colleges and universities are showing that they can also lift their bottom lines for the benefits of the students.