U-Morris is in spotlight for clean energy

  • Updated: August 17, 2012 - 10:28 PM

his view of wind turbines spinning outside Morris, Minn. — supplying electricity for its University of Minnesota campus — appears in a video released by the U.S. Energy Department.

Photo: U.S. Department Of Energy, Star Tribune

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The U.S. Energy Department has put a spotlight on Morris, Minn., and its University of Minnesota campus, releasing a 3 1/2-minute video about their clean-energy programs.

The video, which can be reached via startribune.com/a1644, features the university's wind turbines, corncob-fired heating and power plant and other initiatives.

Morris, located 150 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, is the second U.S. community chosen by the Energy Department to spotlight clean energy efforts in cities with populations of less than 20,000. The first was Decorah, Iowa, the home of Luther College.

U-Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson said the campus's two wind turbines sometimes supply 100 percent of its power, and the corncob gasifier helps heat and cool buildings. "Instead of putting money into oil and gas that is coming from faraway places, we're able to put money back into the local economy," she said in an interview.

"That matters a lot in rural Minnesota."

In a statement, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that local institutions and communities like Morris can lead in "the global clean energy race, while creating good local jobs and protecting the environment."

The videos were produced by the colleges, not the U.S. government, said Steven Thai, a department spokesman.


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