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Wind Power Helps Energize HP in Corvallis

by Wendy Geist, Gazette-Times reporter
Corvallis Gazette-Times, January 30, 2005

Company boosts purchases of ‘green' electricity

Hewlett-Packard Co. is doing more than its fair share to protect the environment, according to Pacific Power.

HP's Corvallis campus is the largest buyer of renewable energy in the electric utility's service area, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and California.

HP Corvallis is one of six Oregon firms that have made major increases in renewable energy purchases since Pacific Power's new Blue Sky QS program was approved last November by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The others are the Bonneville Power Administration, the Port of Portland, Columbia Steel, Ashforth Pacific and the Oregon Convention Center.

The new program allows Pacific Power's large business customers to buy renewable energy, mostly from wind power, at a lower cost.

Hewlett-Packard had been purchasing 1,605,000 kilowatt-hours per year of wind power (.18 aMW), but in November, the site increased the amount to 4,258,800 kilowatt-hours per year (.48 aMW).

Although the amount of renewable energy purchased is relatively small — wind power makes up only 2.8 percent of HP's total energy usage in Corvallis, which is 150 million kilowatt-hours each month(year) (17 aMW)— the benefits to the environment are substantial, said Phil Ermer, energy coordinator for the site.

With every kilowatt-hour of Blue Sky renewable energy purchased, two pounds of carbon dioxide emissions are offset. HP's purchase means that 4,259 tons of carbon dioxide will be kept out of the atmosphere, Ermer said.

As wind power becomes more popular, driving the price down even further, HP will be able to purchase even more of the renewable energy, Ermer said. That fits with a corporate goal to combat global warming and work toward a cleaner environment.

Companywide, HP cut electricity use by 10 percent and natural gas use by 16 percent between 2001 and 2003, Ermer said, while greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 10 percent. Since 2000, the Corvallis site has seen a 9 percent reduction in electricity consumption.

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance assisted HP with a long-range study of the site's energy center. One project, finished in the last six months, resulted in a 6.6 percent savings in the usage of natural gas. HP also met with the Oregon Energy Trust two weeks ago and developed 12 initiatives for energy conservation, Ermer said.

And within HP, an employee group called the Sustainability Network gets together over lunch to discuss ways to reduce impacts on the environment. Last year, an Earth Day contest resulted in 95 ideas for saving energy.

One of the most significant energy-saving projects at the Corvallis site has been enhancing the clean rooms, said Ermer. Because clean rooms must be kept as sterile as operating theaters, the facilities use a significant amount of energy.

In one of the site's clean rooms, fan walls were installed. The new technology replaced large motors that would blow air down into the room from big fans in the ceiling with small high-efficiency motors located around the room. Ermer said fan walls can cut energy use by 40 percent.

The HP site also took out lights in aisles that border windows. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are periodically tuned up and made more efficient.

Other measures are less high-tech, such as turning off equipment at night that doesn't need to be on.

"There is nothing like shutting things off to create energy savings," Ermer said.

Wendy Geist, Gazette-Times reporter
Wind Power Helps Energize HP in Corvallis
Corvallis Gazette-Times, January 30, 2005

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