University Of Illinois Wind Turbine Cancelled… The Economy.

A University Of Illinois plan has been cancelled. Wind Turbine Plan was cut by the administration at the University Of Illinois. The University of Illinois canceled plans to build wind turbines on campus because of the university’s “deteriorating fiscal condition.” Richard Herman, the University Chancellor notified GE and student leaders of the university’s decision to halt the project on Thursday. GE had a contract to build and deliver a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine to be erected on the South Farms. That contract, sent last week to the university, the university officials declined to sign.

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Given the “deteriorating fiscal condition” of the university – the state recently asked the university to hold 2.5 percent of its state appropriation in reserve – “we’ve got to spend money where there’s a rapid payback,” said Dick Warner, a professor in Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and director of the university’s new Office of Sustainability. The single turbine would have generated about 1 percent of the campus’s energy needs.

“We need to be looking for things that have immediate cost savings,” Warner said. With a return of investment at 7 years or so, a wind turbine represents paying 7 years of electricity up-front. What was a sound idea a few months ago, has turned into a large expenditure to dealy or avoid because of the softening economy. Originally the project called for installing three turbines The wind energy project was announced in 2005. Over the last three years wind turbines demand has pushed prices higher according to the director of engineering services at the university. The project was scaled down from three turbines to one, then the budget was cut down $5.7 million to $4.6 million.

Many University students that were ardent supporters of the wind turbines said they were disappointed, stunned to hear of the project’s demise. “It’s pretty awful. Everyone’s really shocked right now,” said Amanda Schield, president of Students for Environmental Concerns. Her student group rallied support in 2003 for a $2 per-semester fee to be used for clean energy projects on campus, like the turbines. About $300,000 was raised from the fees, then directed for use on the wind energy project. The university would have received a $2 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation to help pay for the turbines.

This is really a sad thing when you consider how well that shools have done with wind power projects in Iowa, Illinois, Texas, and elsewhere. They should have adjusted to use Reconditioned Turbines, Remanufactured Turbines, Used Wind Turbines like many other community and school wind projects. The ROI is better and the adjustment may have saved the project from being cut.

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