Harvard is already tops in most green university ratings, and now the school appears to be gunning for the number one spot with a commitment to get over 10% of its power from a wind farm in northern Maine. That’s a big chunk of power–last year, Harvard used over 247,000,000 kWh. It’s so big, in fact, that it will make Harvard the largest purchaser of wind power by any college or university in higher education-heavy New England.
As part of the deal with First Wind, Harvard will buy half the power produced by the company’s Stetson Wind II project in Maine. Harvard students can’t begin bragging quite yet, though. Stetson won’t start producing power until the middle of next year.
The wind deal is one of many climate and energy projects at Harvard. The school has 58 kW of on-campus solar power, and 64 LEED certified or registered buildings. Harvard also already purchases 8% of its power from off-campus renewable energy projects, hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in 2016 from 2006 levels.
Is this all part of a marketing ploy? Probably not. Harvard will most likely remain an ultra-competitive school no matter what it does. But these investments in green technology will help preserve the university’s future–and maybe attract some hefty donations from green-minded alumni.