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Waverly commissioned two wind turbines Thursday. They were put up by Waverly Light and Power and cost around two million dollars. Currently they contribute six percent towards energy both in community and at Wartburg.
President Jack Ohle in the spring of 2007 decided the college would pledge two million to Waverly Light and Power.
Gary Grace, vice president for administration, said this pledge of $100,000 yearly for 20 years the college is giving Waverly Light and Power is a gift and the college is not under a contract and can choose not to donate at any time.
“Now what we didn’t do that people that’s kind of a fallacy that a lot of people still don’t understand is that we didn’t go out and buy a wind turbine and it is actually money we have pledged to Waverly Light and Power over this 20 year period,” Grace said.
Grace said the money being donated goes to all renewable energy projects that Waverly Light and Power work on.
“That doesn’t go directly to fund the wind turbine they put up but Waverly Light and Power has a green energy fund and citizens of Waverly or anybody can donate to that fund and Waverly Light and Power uses it to help support its green initiatives,” Grace said.
The money Wartburg donates comes from the general fund. The general fund includes all of the college revenue and tuition makes up around 70-80 percent of that fund since Wartburg is a tuition driven institution, Grace said.
Most students were unaware that part of their tuition money was being used for this green initiative.
“I didn’t come to Wartburg to contribute to that necessarily,” Ally Diercksen said.
Olivia Hughes said she thought it was a good thing Wartburg was helping encourage sustainability.
“I’m a big supporter of renewable energy so I guess I’m ok with it but that’s a lot of money to be spending when students are already spending so much to go here,” Hughes said.
Grace said, the college had been thinking about ways to become more “green” because Wartburg is one of the largest energy consumers in Waverly and the college thought this would be a good way to reduce the amount of carbon-based fossil fuels.
He said the “W” is about 200,000 square feet and now that the wind turbines are fully functional they have the potential to offset the amount of energy the “W” uses; which is 20 percent of campus.
“The main benefit is that this power offsets what we would call fossil fuel type power, power that’s considered by many to be more dirty than clean energy. So when we’re producing this it gives the campus the ability to say that a portion of their energy comes from clean sources,” said Diane Johnson, general manager at Waverly Light and Power. “Compared to coal and natural gas they’re certainly 100 percent cleaner because they don’t have any emissions and their reliability is pretty strong these days so we think they’re a very viable source.”