Captain planet

By By Andy Thompson

By Andy Thompson

A group of U students is doing its part to improve the state’s air quality by spending money on sustainable energy.

The U’s Outdoor Equilibrium Slacklining Club has formed a co-op to buy wind energy from Sterling Planet, Inc. The OESC energy collective has purchased 150 megawatt-hours of wind power for the month of May, preventing the emission of 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“This is something tangible students can do that improves the environment,” said Andrew Eisenberg, a junior majoring in urban planning and the president of OESC.

A similar program at the U is sponsored by the biochemistry department. The objective of this campaign is to have the department rely solely on wind power.

“If this pilot project is successful, my hope is that the program could be greatly expanded,” said Christopher Hill, a biochemistry professor. “On the face of things, the potential is huge.”

A 150-mwh would power the Emma Eccles-Jones Medical Research Building for a month, Hill said.

To purchase wind power, individuals can visit www.energycollective.org, where a megawatt of energy from Sterling costs $6.50. This breaks down to 65 cents for 100 kilowatt-hours, which is significantly cheaper than the $1.95 per 100-kwh that Utah Power charges for its wind power.

“The goal is not to get cheap wind energy, but to increase the amount of wind energy used, offsetting the amount of coal being burned,” Eisenberg said.

According to the Energy Information Administration, 37 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions come from coal, with 87 percent of that resulting from the electricity industry. Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere.

“What we hope to accomplish is to give consumers the right to buy energy from the wind farm,” Eisenberg said. “We must bring coal, wind, solar and nuclear energies into an open market and allow consumers the right to choose how our power is generated.”

Chronicle File Photo

Helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere from coal energy, the Outdoor Equilibrium Slacklining Club at the U has paid for 150 megawatt-hours of wind power for the month of May.