United States

United States

Boston University to buy South Dakota wind

UNITED STATES: Boston University will buy renewable energy credits from part of a new South Dakota wind farm, funding its construction, and virtually offsetting its power consumption with clean energy.

Boston University School of Education (pic credit: John Phelan)
Boston University School of Education (pic credit: John Phelan)

It will buy electricity generated from a 48.6MW portion of the Triple H project being developed by Engie North America for 15 years through a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The university will receive and retire the associated 205,000 Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to claim credit for the emissions reductions from the wind farm.

It will sell the expected 205,000MWh/year of power for use in the US Midwest, the university added.

An unspecified "large US retailer" will also buy output from a 100MW portion of Triple H, Engie North America added.

The project will be built across Hyde and Hughes counties in South Dakota, with an expected commissioning date of 2020.

Anthony Janetos, chair of the university’s climate action plan task force, explained it had made the decision to buy clean energy outside of New England to "displace the greatest amount of fossil fuel-generated CO2 possible".

He added: "Local projects on the New England grid would displace less CO2 because the New England grid is already pretty green."

When the PPA expires, the university will either negotiate a new contract or consider alternatives.

Announcing the deal at a forum of Boston’s largest building-space owners, the university’s president Robert Brown, described the deal as "a major step in the university’s strategy for mitigating our CO2 emissions and our commitment to bring our net emissions to zero by 2040."

Since 2006, Boston University has reduced its carbon emissions by about 25% through energy efficiency, replacing oil usage with cleaner natural gas, and the increasing "greening of the New England electricity grid", it stated.

Engie North America intends Triple H to have a total capacity of 250MW and comprise about 100 turbines, depending on which model is used, it stated.

The French utility's North American subsidiary said Boston University and the US retailer's commitments enabled Engie to procure financing for the site's construction. Work is due to start in 2019.

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