Updated: Wednesday, 13 Jan 2010, 8:38 AM CST
Published : Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010, 9:08 PM CST
GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) - Something renewable will soon blow through Georgetown. West Texas wind farms are set to supply every jolt of electricity Southwestern University uses.
"You know,” said Connor Hanrahan, a senior at Southwestern, “it's a legacy for the next 20 years that the energy students are using is coming from renewable sources."
As president of Students for Environomental Activism and Knowledge, Hanrahan began pushing the project to administrators three years ago. The electricity supplied will be enough to power 450 homes, helping the school work toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral.
It not only teaches current students the importance of going green, but could also sway potential decisions for future prospects.
"I think they'll just leave and go somewhere else to a university who takes that seriously,” explained Jake Schrum, Southwestern’s president.
This renewable recruiting tool makes Southwestern the first university in the state to run completely off such energy and one of only six in the nation.
"I really like the image that it gives our school,” said Southwestern student Julia Von Alexander. “Since this is something I'm strongly behind, of course I think it's really great."
"You know,” added Leah Jones, “it's great because I think it will inspire other universities in Texas to follow our lead to become a sustainable institution, so I'm thrilled."
Hanrahan's group gathered as the school and the city signed the 18-year contract on Tuesday in Georgetown City Council chambers. Although he graduates in May, Hanrahan said his work will last long after he's gone.
"I think it even pushes people to conserve and be more conscientious about the energy they use,” he said.
This agreement will also help the city of Georgetown move toward its goal of getting 30% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. Southwestern is one of the city's largest energy users.
When it comes to cities going green, Austin residents have a new online feature. CoolAustin.org is a site with a new carbon footprint calculator, which is much more precise than those generic ones you might have already seen. It allows you to put in your utility account number to calculate what impact you have on the environment.