The human race’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation has started to cause major changes in the environment. Climate change is a universal issue and it is evident that our current energy schematic is not sustainable. At the University of Massachusetts, small-scale wind power has the potential to be a key component in UMass’ energy portfolio as the university shifts from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy. Strategically placed turbines would produce clean, renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help to decentralize energy dependence on the Central Heating Plant. Small-scale turbines, like the eddyGT, are tested technologies that show promise for on-campus applications. In addition to starting UMass’ transition to renewable energy, monetary savings from wind-energy investment could even be put towards future renewable energy endeavors. And, though current turbine technology suffers from limited energy production capabilities, this issue is addressed by high altitude turbines which access stronger and more consistent winds. While still in the process of development, high altitude wind turbines have the potential to be an important renewable energy source in the future.
Implementation of small scale wind energy at UMass will require research on wind speeds throughout campus. This data will facilitate determination of ideal locations and types of small-scale wind turbines for the campus, the first step in achieving UMass’ independence from fossil fuels.
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