[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

Aug. 20, 2002



Catholic University Signs Up for New Wind Power Project

CUA is First University in the D.C. Area


The Catholic University of America has signed a long-term contract to purchase electricity generated at a wind energy center that is currently under construction in West Virginia. Through a supply agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services, 12 percent of the Washington, D.C., university’s annual electricity requirements will be generated by clean, renewable wind energy for five years. The contract represents the largest percentage commitment to wind power by any university in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.


“We are committed to improving the environment through the use of green technologies such as cost-efficient wind power,” said The Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., president of Catholic University. “And we hope our students reap the additional benefits of greater awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship.”


From 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2002, representatives from Catholic University, EPA, Washington Gas Energy Services and Community Energy, Inc., will be talking to students about wind power as part of CUA’s fall 2002 orientation. The group also will display a wind turbine model.


“We’re proud to be the first university in the region to sign on for wind power,” Father O’Connell said.


The wind power purchase follows CUA’s recent recognition for responsible environmental practices.  The university was identified as a leader in recycling and energy conservation in a December 2001 National Wildlife Federation report based on a nationwide survey of 891 colleges and universities.


Washington Gas Energy Services arranged Catholic University’s $72,000 annual supply contract in conjunction with Community Energy, Inc., of Pennsylvania. CEI was founded by national leaders in energy marketing to expand the market for clean electric supply. WGES and CEI are launching a campaign to offer renewable, wind-generated power to institutions, businesses and consumers throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.


“We are very excited that Catholic University is adding renewable energy to its supply portfolio,” said Harry Warren, president of Washington Gas Energy Services. “The cost of

electricity from this nearby wind power site is close to that of conventional, fossil-fueled

power. Emissions-free, fuel-free wind energy allows businesses, institutions and consumers

to help our regional air quality, while expanding energy resources to meet the region’s long-term energy needs.” 


“With leaders like Catholic University stepping up and making the decision to buy electricity that generates no pollution and uses no fuel, they make a historic contribution both locally and globally,” said Brent Alderfer, president of Community Energy. “Their purchase is the pollution equivalent of taking over 300 cars off the road or planting over 300,000 trees.”


The Exelon Community Energy Mountaineer Wind Energy Center is being constructed on Backbone Mountain near Thomas, West Virginia. It will be the largest wind power project ever built in the eastern United States. The site will include 44 wind turbines producing a total of 66 megawatts, the equivalent electric needs of 22,000 homes. As compared to the same amount of conventional generation, this wind generation is estimated to avoid 200 million pounds annually of carbon dioxide emissions. That is the equivalent of taking more than 14,000 cars off the road.


Catholic University will purchase the entire output of one of the Mountaineer facility’s 1.5 megawatt wind turbines when construction is completed in December 2002.


The Catholic University of America is a private, coeducational university located in Washington, D.C. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degree programs. The student population consists of more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States and other countries. For more information about CUA, visit www.cua.edu or call the Office of Public Affairs, at 202-319-5600.


Washington Gas Energy Services is the largest competitive provider of electricity and natural gas in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, supplying more than 200,000 customers. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of Washington Gas and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. For more information about WGES, please visit the company Web site at www.wges.com.


Community Energy, Inc., is a for-profit corporation headquartered in Wayne, Pa. Under its New Wind Energy brand, CEI partners with existing electric suppliers to make wind-generated electricity available at the best price to commercial and residential customers. CEI brought the first commercial wind turbines online in Pennsylvania in December 1999, and is currently working to bring over 200 megawatts of new wind power on-line in the mid-Atlantic region. More information is available at www.newwindenergy.com.





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Revised: Feb. 18, 2002

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The Catholic University of America,
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