The News-Gazette reports that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is scrapping its plan for a wind turbine because the $4.6-million that would have paid for the project is badly needed for deferred maintenance on campus.
University officials said that the 1.5-megawatt turbine would not have generated enough power to meet much of the university’s consumption — perhaps one percent. Jack Dempsey, executive director of facilities and services at the university, called the turbine “symbolic.”
That’s not because the turbine is small — Carleton College, for example, has a similarly sized turbine that generates nearly half of that college’s power. Rather, the university, like any research institution, uses a lot of electricity.
In a recent Chronicle article on deferred maintenance, Terry W. Ruprecht, the director of energy conservation at the university, said that the deferred maintenance total at Urbana-Champaign was about $500-million, up from $350-million in 2001. About 50 percent of that maintenance backlog is tied to outdated energy components, like lighting and heating-and-cooling systems.