In April of 2007, Paul Smith's became one of only 13 colleges to purchase green electricity at the 100% level, and also joined EPA’s elite Green Power Leadership Club. In April of 2008 the College reaffirmed its commitment to the use of renewable energy for the campus by renewing its green power contract through 2012. This decision is a positive signs of the times – colleges which are truly committed to sustainability are powered by renewable energy, leading and teaching by example. This decision was made with the full knowledge that it will mean paying tens of thousands of dollars more in purchasing electricity generated from renewable sources. It takes greenbacks to be green.
Power plants are the nation’s largest source of air pollution. When fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil are burned to generate energy they emit carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the leading contributors to global warming, along with other harmful pollutants such as nitrous oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and mercury (Hg). Purchasing emission-free wind energy allows wind farms to operate cost-effectively and adds more clean energy to the power grid, therefore displacing the need for conventional energy sources.
Purchasing wind energy directly supports the development of future wind farm projects along with the environmental and economic benefits they facilitate. Wind farms create jobs and boost local economies in the form of lease payments to landowners for hosting turbines on their property, and in the form of tax revenues to the local government. These dollars support the development of schools, police and fire stations, and are used for repairs to infrastructure and general municipal needs.
Environmental Benefits - A 100% Wind Energy purchase for Paul Smith’s College, is equivalent to:
Planting 320,690 trees or Removing 469 cars from the road - Based upon the average generation mix in the spot market New York power pool, the environmental benefits from this purchase are equivalent to a reduction of 4,940,875 lbs. of carbon per year.