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Sweetwater wind farms might benefit from Super Bowl  

Credit:  By Carl Kieke, Abilene Reporter-News, www.reporternews.com 31 January 2011 ~~

Organizers of the Super Bowl and its surrounding activities are making a concerted effort to go “green” in 2011, and wind farms around Sweetwater are playing a role.

The National Football League and Just Energy, a “green energy” retailer, plan to offset the carbon footprint created during the Super Bowl by purchasing renewable energy credits. What that will mean is, for every megawatt of energy used, Just Energy pledged to purchase a similar amount of energy – renewable energy credits, or RECs – on the open market. Much of that credit will be directed toward wind farms around Sweetwater.

“That money can then be used by wind farms to support investment or construction of additional farms,” said David Smith, chief operating officer for Bluarc Management Group. Bluarc, a subsidiary of Insigen Energy, is the management arm for five Sweetwater wind farms. Duke Energy of North Carolina and Insigen own the Sweetwater facilities.

Sweetwater sells credits to other parties in the national renewable energy market, Smith said. The purchase of RECs offsets the use of other types of fuel.

“We’re thrilled to be chosen by the NFL to play a key role in the ‘greening’ of the world’s most significant annual sports championship,” said Ken Hartwick, chief executive officer of Just Energy. “We see this as a powerful opportunity to join the NFL and lead by example before a global audience.”

Attempts to get a comment from National Football League headquarters in New York were unsuccessful.

A statement from Just Energy said the company plans to purchase enough RECs to cover energy consumed at Cowboys Stadium for the month leading up to Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6. It will include energy used by NFL Super Bowl headquarters, the media center, team hotels and the NFL Experience Football Theme Park.

Smith had no estimate on how much energy would be consumed by those venues.

“All those TV trucks, all the people in the stadium. It’s quite a significant amount,” he said.

The Sweetwater wind farms managed by Bluarc have a 585-megawatt capacity, Smith said.

The energy used at the Super Bowl may not come directly from Sweetwater. The energy produced by wind farms and other power plants goes into the electrical grid, then will be used wherever and whenever needed. The purchase of RECs by Just Energy merely ensures that for every megawatt used during the event, another megawatt will have been produced using renewable resources. Besides wind power, such sources include nuclear, solar or hydroelectric (water).

Source:  By Carl Kieke, Abilene Reporter-News, www.reporternews.com 31 January 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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