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RNP Press Release
July 22, 2004

Whitman Becomes Washington's First College to Support Renewable Power

Walla Walla, WA – Following through on its stated desire to reduce its environmental impact, Whitman College became the state’s first higher education buyer of renewable power, buying 90 blocks per month of Pacific Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy.

 
"At Whitman College, we are committed to being good stewards of our environment," said Peter Harvey, Whitman College Treasurer. "Participating in the Blue Sky program makes sense for us, since it is an effective way for the college to promote the use of renewable energy."
 
Whitman is the latest customer to support the City of Walla Walla’s Blue Sky Community Challenge, which was launched by the city last Earth Day, April 22. In an effort to increase the community’s support for renewable power, the challenge strives to sign up 5 percent of the community by the annual Northwest Renewable Energy Festival this Sept. 25.
 
"Whitman has been pleased to host the annual Energy Festival," said Harvey. "We hope local citizens and businesses that take part in the festival will take note of the city's Blue Sky Community Challenge and consider enrolling in the program."
 
Blue Sky renewable wind energy comes from new wind farms, such as the nearby Stateline Wind Farm. Pacific Power offers Blue Sky in fixed, 100-kilowatt hour blocks for an additional $1.95 per block each month. While Pacific Power buys renewable energy for its customers, individuals and businesses buying Blue Sky bring even more renewable energy into the system and encourage wind farm development.
 
Making a substantial environmental impact
 
Currently, 432 Walla Walla homes and businesses have enrolled in the renewable power program, buying 1,007 blocks of Blue Sky. Signups to date have pushed the City almost halfway to its goal. Plus, the environmental benefit of 1,007 blocks is substantial. Over a year, it offsets 1,208 tons of carbon dioxide, which is the same as taking 207 cars off the road for a year or planting 475 acres of trees.
 
"Whitman College's participation in the Blue Sky Community Challenge demonstrates their continuing commitment to both the local community and the environment," said Jaimes Valdez, outreach consultant in Walla Walla for Renewable Northwest Project (RNP). "Their leadership will serve as an example to others who want to support the development of renewable resources in the Northwest "
 
RNP has played a major role in implementing the challenge, and in signing up new Blue Sky participants. RNP is a regional nonprofit organization promoting wind, solar and geothermal resources.
 
"It’s been gratifying to see enrollments creeping closer to the goal," said Bill Clemens, regional community manager for Pacific Power. "Since the challenge kickoff last April 22, nearly 200 Walla Walla homes and 10 businesses have signed up for Blue Sky.
 
Wind power is an attractive form of energy generation because it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourages local economic development. Wind produces no air pollutants, wastewater, smog or acid rain. Just one block of Blue Sky has the same environmental benefit of either not driving 2,500 miles or planting a half acre of trees. Also, wind farm development brings new jobs and an increased tax base to local communities.
 
Customers who want to sign up for a renewable power option can call Pacific Power at 1-800-842-8458 or visit www.pacificpower.net/bluesky . Enrollment is optional and customers can increase their participation or withdraw at any time.
 
Environmental Principles for Whitman College (www.whitmancollege.edu)
 
Recognizing the impact Whitman College has on the environment and the leadership role Whitman College plays as an institution of higher learning, the college affirms the following environmental principles and standards, which shall be consulted to explore the practical ways Whitman College can promote an environmentally conscious campus.
 
  • To reduce the amount of nonrecyclable materials, to reuse materials when possible, and utilize recycled materials. 
 
  • To consider the eco-friendliest science and technology available to decrease our environmental impact. 
 
  • To continue to build an energy-efficient campus in the 21st century.
 
  • To patronize companies that are active in their defense of the environment from further degradation.
 
  • To encourage individuals' environmental accountability through programs of environmental education.
 
  • To consider environmentally friendly options when they exist and are practical in decisions regarding developmental projects.
 
  • To further the use of reused materials, recyclable materials and the Internet for campus communications.
 
  • To encourage and request food service to make environmentally friendly decisions in purchasing food and supplies, reducing waste, and reusing materials.
 
  • To maintain campus grounds through the employment of bio-friendly substances and services.
 
  • To strive to improve upon current practices so we may harmonize the trends of the industrial world with the natural environment.
 
# # #
For more information contact:
Bill Clemens
Pacific Power
(509) 522-7007
newsdesk@pacificorp.com
 
Jaimes Valdez
Renewable Northwest Project
(509) 301-8876
jaimes@rnp.org
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