Iowa State University”s power plant will begin phasing out the burning of coal.  In order to meet more stringent EPA emission standards and the demands from the university community to use cleaner fuel alternatives, the ISU power plant is proactively moving towards fuel diversity for its operations.  They plan to use the two newest and most efficient boilers for burning coal and biomass, but will switch the three oldest to burning natural gas.  However, it is unknown when the proposed changes will go into effect.

The burning of coal produces a variety of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human health.  CO2 emissions from burning coal has been linked to climate change and contributes to many other environmental health problems including pollution from water discharge and solid waste creation, as well as contaminating nearby soil.  A recent study from Harvard University estimates the total burden on the U.S. public from burning coal is between one-third to one-half of a trillion dollars annually.  The study examined the multiple human and environmental health effects from the total life cycle of coal and the waste streams it creates.  Currently, nearly half of all electricity in the United States comes from coal.  Switching to natural gas is a source reduction strategy-it reduces emissions by changing feedstock.

Student and university organizations have pressured the power plant to reduce the burning of coal for some time, but ultimately the changes come down to balancing sustainability concerns with costs and timeliness.  The ISU power demands have already begun efforts to use renewable energy sources, including investments into Prima di tutto seleziona la modalita di gioco che preferisci, optando per modalita di pratica o gioco con denaro reale, e lancia il gioco in flash, senza effettuare il download del Casino . wind energy.  In 2011, about 6% of the total energy use came from wind energy, up from 4.4% a year ago.  However, these efforts take time since infrastructure needs to be developed.  Sustainability leaders on campus appreciate the forward thinking of the power plant, but are also educating members of the community to understand that individual reductions in energy demand also make an impact.

The overall communication between the power plant and university community has been a driving force for change and both parties support continued discussions.  The ISU move towards cleaner fuel sources is a step in the right direction to reduce harmful CO2 emissions trough source reduction.  It”s a move towards doing better, but does not yet move towards doing enough, the classic tension between P2 success and meeting the sustainability challenge.  Reducing overall energy use and increasing the of renewable energy will continue to be the focal point for future sustainability discussions at ISU.