Harvard University Powers Ahead With Wind

Two 10 kilowatt wind turbines were commissioned at Harvard University in the USA yesterday, representing the largest wind energy project on campus to date.

The new installation adds to the six 1kW wind turbines installed elsewhere on campus. The turbines will generate enough electricity to power six average American homes and will provide more than supplementary power for the garage where they have been installed.

The turbines weigh over 450 kilograms each and are attached to 1-tonne towers on the garage roof that rest on tubular steel bases extending two stories below the roof. Counting the height of the brick garage, the new turbines are situated around 35 metres above ground level

The new turbines can rotate 360 degrees to take advantage of maximal wind currents and even in high winds, will generate noise levels of only 32 decibels; around the level of average rooftop air conditioning unit.

Last year, Harvard University pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016, with 2006 as a baseline year. Harvard has been tracking and publicly reporting University Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 2000. The institution currently invests in renewable energy by  purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) and installing and operating a number of on-site renewable energy projects. These include biofuel, solar panel, solar hot water and geothermal initiatives.

At Shad Hall a 36 kilowatt installation, consisting of 192 solar panels, prevents the emission of about 30 tonnes of CO2 per year. In August 2007, a 11.9 kW building integrated thin film photovoltaic system was installed on the Science Center roof.