The University began exploring alternative energy options in 2004 when the Gentile Hall building project was underway. Geo-thermal energy generation was considered, but officials determined that the option was not feasible, so turned next to wind generation.
After talking with the US Department of Energy about wind power, the University was directed to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Renewable Energy Research Laboratory. RERL installed wind monitoring equipment in a field next to the tennis courts on Nov. 21, 2004. Data, received via email once per month, indicated that a wind turbine would be a fiscally feasible venture for the University.
University officials decided in April 2007 to move forward with a wind project. The University set out with a major goal of reducing its energy bill – which saw a 40 percent increase in 2007 and was only expected to go up – but another important goal emerged: to serve, through this project, its educational and community roles as a public university.
Officials have promised to make the wind turbine project very public and show all sides of completing an alternative energy project, both the value and cost-effectiveness of harnessing natural resources for clean electricity as well as any problems encountered along the way.
Officials are committed to sharing all aspects of the campus’s experience with students, the campus, and the community, as well as people in Maine and beyond interested in exploring wind power options of their own.