The Purdue Board of Trustees voted this morning to approve the leasing of land for a wind turbine farm and to cancel plans for a new coal boiler at the campus utility plant.
The two energy projects are unrelated yet open questions on how Purdue will chose to power the growing West Lafayette campus into the future, as the creation of an energy master plan was also approved.
There was no discussion before the vote since trustee committees heard presentations on these and other resolutions Thursday.
The creation of a wind farm will be the first of its kind on Purdue property. Purdue Research Foundation was given the OK to start leasing land for wind turbines across 1,600 acres at the Purdue Animal Sciences Research and Education Center – mostly agriculture land 10 miles northwest of campus, off U.S. 213 South between county roads 500 North and 750 North.
The wind park is being developed by Performance Services, an Indianapolis-based engineering and construction company, along with General Electric.
The energy created by the 27 to 30 turbines is not planned to be used by the university. Instead, a utility provider is being sought by Performance Services to purchase the power.
Purdue will use these turbines and 30 other turbines being developed on more than 2,400 acres of private land by Performance Services for research and education.
The focus would be opening up new research and teaching areas, such as wind energy technology, turbine load management, environmental, agricultural, social impacts of turbines and more.
Unknown is how much cost and revenue Purdue would see from the park. At the least, the university would receive $300,000 per year, or $10,000 per turbine, on Purdue-owned land.
The plan to cancel a Wade Utility Plant project affects a $28 million coal boiler that was approved in 2009 by the trustees. Financial and regulatory concerns were reasons cited to stop the project and now focus on a natural gas boiler instead.
Purdue President France Córdova spoke briefly at the start of the meeting, providing an overview of recent campus activities. Córdova said in early March she will testify at the Indiana Senate about Purdue’s 2011-13 appropriations request.
Noting the decline in state funds and increase in tuition during the years, she told the trustees about a new committee Provost Tim Sands will lead to uncover new funding ideas.
“We will examine now where we are and where we will go to have a sustainable funding model,” she said.
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