Letter: Jokes aside, U program provides clean energy opportunity

By and


Congratulations on your April 1 issue and on spoofing at least one respondent with the “U gives up on sustainability” article. Despite not being in on the prank, I am happy to have been “quoted” as saying that climate change is “just a theory”. That’s correct, just like the theories of gravity, evolution, that elements are comprised of atoms, and that HIV causes AIDS. There is no such thing as absolute certainty in science, but ignoring an overwhelming scientific consensus, such as exists for climate change, can be very dangerous.

Since it is no longer April 1, you might be interested in a few facts about wind energy and the U’s program:

(1) Electricity generation causes 40% of the total CO2 pollution in the USA, 50% of the total CO2 produced in Utah, and 55% of the total CO2 produced by the U. It also causes 40% of the total mercury pollution in the USA.

(2) Only 1% of US electricity is currently made from wind, although the US Department of Energy estimates that we could make more than 150% of the nation’s total electricity just from wind turbines (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/wind_potential.html).

(3) The ASUU currently donates $1/student/semester to make almost 9% of the U’s share of grid electricity come from new wind turbines. Additional contributions from faculty, staff, and friends bring this up to almost 15%. See windpower.utah.edu for details.

(4) The 1978 energy act means that wind energy funded by the U necessarily displaces the use of fossil fuel. The U’s program is further validated by third party accounting and is recognized by the EPA.

(5) The economy of scale that results from the size of the ASUU’s donation makes the U’s program one of the most cost effective ways for individuals to support wind energy in the country. One-hundred percent of the U’s share of grid electricity would come from new wind sources if the ASUU donation were increased to $11/student/semester, OR each faculty and staff member donated $30/year, OR the administration donated less than 0.04 percent of total U revenue to this purchase.

Christopher HillProfessor of [email protected]