A growing alternative to fossil fuel produced energy is renewable energy. Renewable energy usually refers to solar power, geo-thermal, bio-diesel, hydro power and wind energy. Renewable energy is becoming increasingly available, but it still provides only a very small percentage of the total energy needed. It can be much more costly than fossil fuel produced energy, and this higher cost has discouraged its development and widespread use. The university energy provider, Xcel Energy, will be producing 10% of their base rate energy from renewable sources by the end of 2007. Existing legislation mandates this level of renewable energy production by 2015. There is discussion in the 2007 Colorado Legislative Session for mandates for all Colorado energy providers to produce 20% of their base rate energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Currently the university campuses are considering purchasing a portion of its energy from Xcels wind energy program.
Information on possible future options
One source for wind energy is Xcel Energy’s Windsource program. For a fee Xcel will provide wind energy to the grid in the name of the purchaser. There are 77 turbines (and growing) located at 2 wind farms in northern Colorado that currently provide wind energy to the grid (as of January 2007).
For a customer to purchase wind energy they will need to contract with Xcel for a minimum 3 years for a specified number of wind energy blocks. These 100 kWh blocks are currently priced at $1.097. The price varies as allowed by Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
For example if a building uses 100,000 kWh a month and the program was to supply 10% wind energy the monthly cost for 100 blocks will be $110. This cost is a premium to the energy costs already charged on the bill. This will add about 2% to the cost of energy for the building in this example. At 100% wind energy in this example the additional cost premium will be about $1,100 per month which will result in energy costs about 20% higher than our current costs.
More information on Xcel’s Windsource program and current rates.
For information on the Engineering Services section of Facilities Management, please email my.CU.edu Roen, Phone 303-724-1103.