ONU's wind turbines stand as sentinels looking to the horizon of a greener future. The university is now one of the greenest in Ohio - Ada Herald
ONU's wind turbines stand as sentinels looking to the horizon of a greener future. The university is now one of the greenest in Ohio. (Ada Herald/Joe Schriner)

ADA — According to data published at nationalgeographic.com, on a macro-level, the entire U.S. last year generated its energy from eight percent wind and two percent solar. The 10 percent, accumulatively, marked a milestone.

On a micro-level, Ohio Northern University actually had that beat by quite a lot. As of somewhat recently, when more solar panels went on line there, some 25 percent of the entire campus’s energy demand was supplied by wind and solar.

This makes ONU, currently, one of the “greenest” university campuses in Ohio.

ONU Biology Professor Terry Keizer, who has been involved with the project over the years, said ONU now has three large wind turbines and also has a 16-acre solar field with 18,000 panels.

Professor Keizer said a significant number of students these days, when shopping for a university, research that university’s “carbon footprint” as part of the discernment process.

And that’s translating into a ‘green push’ at many schools these days.

For instance, besides a small wind turbine and solar panels, Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, has recently installed on campus two charging stations for electric vehicles.

And besides Oberlin College’s (also in Ohio) wind and solar energy efforts, the college actually has one “Carbon Neutral Day” each year, combining alternative energy with all sorts of creative conservation strategies.

What’s more, Oberlin College is trying to get to “carbon neutrality” by the year 2025.

ONU partnered with AEP Chicago to make their alternative energy project work. AEP put up the money for it (they have a division specifically for this). In turn, AEP contracted with the GEM company to do the installation.

ONU pays AEP each month, at a fixed rate, for the power. And there is a clause where ONU, at a certain point, can buy all the hardware and run the whole green operation itself.

Coupled with all this, ONU’s College of Engineering is developing hands-on alternative energy courses using the wind turbines and solar field.

Student interns even helped with the initial builds.