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Oct. 24, 2014
Northwest Missouri State University played host Thursday to the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Energy as the department continued its statewide tour to gather input on the development of a Comprehensive Statewide Energy Plan.
Thursday’s meeting at Northwest was the fifth of seven meetings scheduled throughout the state this month. It focused on the topic of fuels and resource extraction as well as water-energy nexus.
The meeting also provided Northwest an opportunity to showcase its innovative alternative fuels processes and energy-saving measures.
Northwest’s legacy of sustainability initiatives dates back to 1982 when the University established a biomass energy system utilizing wood chips under then-President Dr. B.D. Owens. University leaders embarked on that path after cold winters raised questions about whether enough natural gas was available to adequately heat the campus, James Teaney, Northwest’s Power Plant manager explained to Thursday’s audience.
After 25 years of operation, Northwest realized about $12.5 million in savings from the use of alternative fuel sources in comparison to purchasing natural gas and oil, allowing the University to reallocate funding to instructional programs and upgrades.
“The administration looked at various forms of fuel to go to and they chose wood chips,” Teaney said. “I don’t think they ever knew what kind of an impact it would have on Northwest, but if they did I just really want to applaud them.”
In the early 1990s, Northwest enhanced its energy program by adding discarded newspaper, corrugated and cardboard boxes, magazines and other clean paper products to its alternative fuel processes with the production of paper pellets. In 2001, Northwest began using animal waste from its farm to create a virtually odor-free pellet that is burned as fuel.
Wood and paper fuels account for 58 percent of the campus’ total energy consumption and 88 percent of its heating requirement.
In 2012, the University adopted an energy policy to further curb energy waste by establishing standards for scheduling and temperature controls throughout the campus. The University also received $177,000 for energy efficiency upgrades through a utility rebate program and retrofitted outdated lighting systems. With those measures, the University has saved more than $1 million during the last two years.
Additionally, Northwest saved about $60,000 during fiscal year 2014 through its wood fuel contract negotiation.
“It’s our faculty and staff, our students, our community partners who have focused on alternative energy well before it was the thing to do in this country,” Northwest President John Jasinski said. “We’re talking about getting that started in the mid ’70s and launching it in the early ’80s. We’re proud of our high performance at Northwest with regard to being future focused.”
Said Lewis Mills, director of the Division of Energy, “It’s interesting to look at universities as businesses and the attention they give to their energy usage and the paybacks they’re seeing. One of the things that really struck me about the Northwest experience is that they’ve tried some different things. Universities really are experimenting in ways that we can all learn from.”
The Division of Energy is gathering information to identify policies and practices necessary to meet Missouri’s need for clean, affordable and abundant energy in the future. Topics discussed during other meetings have included energy usage, energy security and storage, energy distribution and rate-setting processes.
In addition to the public meetings, Missourians can contribute their thoughts, comments and concerns through the Division of Energy’s On-Line Forum at http://energy.mo.gov/energy/about/state-energy-plan-comment-form.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468