Xcel Energy and Northfield, Minn.-based St. Olaf College have joined forces to provide the school with 100% wind energy.
St. Olaf will use Windsource, an Xcel Energy program, to power the 56 buildings on its Northfield campus. Choosing renewable energy to run its academic and administrative buildings, student housing, and sports facilities will make St. Olaf College the largest Windsource customer in Minnesota, says Xcel.
Minneapolis-based Xcel launched Windsource in Minnesota in 2003; the program currently has more than 45,000 residential and commercial customers in the state. Xcel has 20 Minnesota wind farms providing green energy to Windsource participants.
According to the utility, St. Olaf College uses about 14,000 MWh to power its campus. Now, with Windsource, it will avoid 7,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of taking more than 1,300 cars off the road yearly. Additionally, Xcel notes, the college is a large subscriber to community solar gardens.
“We are one of the largest community solar garden subscribers and the largest Windsource customer in the state,” says Pete Sandberg, the college’s assistant vice president for facilities. “With all of that in play, carbon per student is 47 percent less than it was in 2001. That’s one of the lowest numbers of any campus in the country.”