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Coal Free Mizzou plans to spread its message at Homecoming

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | 5:07 p.m. CDT; updated 11:14 a.m. CDT, Monday, October 17, 2011
Senior Drew Stiehl coordinated the Coal Free Mizzou flash mob at Lowry Mall on Thursday. The flash mob celebrated Homecoming and publicized the group's petition to end MU coal use by 2020.

*CORRECTION: Illinois received 2.2 percent of its power from wind energy in 2010, according to the American Wind Energy Association. An earlier version of this article included only an incorrect percentage for the state.

COLUMBIA — The flash mob wearing yellow Beyond Coal shirts leapt into action as the 1991 Euro-pop hit "Get Ready for This" blasted in the background.

The 20 or so students who converged at 12:21 p.m. Thursday on Lowry Mall wore the matching shirts given to them by the organization Coal Free Mizzou, which hosted the event.

Sarah Johnson, president of Coal Free Mizzou, said the event was meant to draw attention to the group's Black and Gold Clean Air Initiative for Homecoming. Members also plan to participate in the Homecoming parade Saturday morning.

Coal Free Mizzou puts most of its efforts into securing a promise from MU to stop burning coal in the MU Power Plant by 2020.

Drew Stiehl of Coal Free Mizzou said Webster and Washington universities in St. Louis were transitioning from coal.

According to Webster's newspaper, The Journal, the university gets its power from a coal-powered Ameren Missouri plant. Student representatives have recently proposed that the school commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Washington University and the Missouri University of Science and Technology supplement small amounts of total energy use with solar panels on several campus buildings.

Coal Free Mizzou does not promote an alternative to burning coal at the power plant, but members offered their personal thoughts.

“I’m from Illinois where about 50 percent of the state is powered by wind energy," Emma Heidorn said. "In Missouri, I think it’s somewhere around 1 percent of the total energy being used by the state.”

According to the American Wind Energy Association, 1 percent of Missouri’s energy was provided by wind power in 2010. *In the same year, 2.2 percent of Illinois' power was supplied by wind energy.

A new biomass boiler at the power plant, which is set to replace one of the older coal burners next fall, would reduce MU’s coal consumption by 25 percent. Johnson said it was a step in the right direction, “but there are better alternatives for Missouri like wind and solar.”

Coal Free Mizzou is part of the national Beyond Coal campaign led by the Sierra Student Coalition. In a November 2010 Missourian article, the Osage chapter of the Sierra Club said it did not think burning wood biomass was a better option than coal.

“We want people to know that we want change, and we have fun," Stiehl said. "We don’t just sit around crying over coal.”


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Comments

Corey Parks October 13, 2011 | 10:49 p.m.

Oh what I wouldn't do to be young and naive again.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 13, 2011 | 11:01 p.m.

“I’m from Illinois where about 50 percent of the state is powered by wind energy," Emma Heidorn said. "In Missouri, I think it’s somewhere around 1 percent of the total energy being used by the state.”

4,749,388 homes in Illinois
Turbines have the capacity to power 1,000,000 homes in Illinois when the wind is blowing.

Just 3 years ago .02% of the power in Illinois came from Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass. I have not found the 50% stat yet but if they did in fact move from .02% to 50% in less then 4 years that is incredible.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 13, 2011 | 11:32 p.m.

Corey, I had the same thought about that 50% statistic. I imagine Mark Foecking will be debunking that in the morning.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 14, 2011 | 5:36 a.m.

From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_...

Illinois has about 2.4 GW peak wind capacity.

http://205.254.135.24/electricity/monthl...

Illinois is projected to generate 96,000 gigawatt hours in 2011.

There are 8760 hours in a year.

2.4 GW x 8760 = 21,000 gigawatt hours if 100% of capacity was generated. However, in that part of the country, only about 1/5 of the capacity of wind turbines is realized on average. So that comes out to about 4,000 GWH/year, or a bit more than 4% of their total generation.

I always find it interesting that those that advocate most for renewable energy are those that don't know very much about it (or energy in general). I advocate it, but also know what we can realistically expect from it.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 14, 2011 | 6:37 a.m.

Mark Foecking said...

"I always find it interesting that those that advocate most for renewable energy are those that don't know very much about it (or energy in general). I advocate it, but also know what we can realistically expect from it."

Agreed. Also, it's not just a matter of this form of energy versus that form of energy, there is also the matter of realistic TIME. Even with huge amounts of money available to spend, it takes time to put new sources in place.

To the truly naive, everything is possible and can be done today before lunch!

(Report Comment)
robert may October 17, 2011 | 8:41 a.m.

Can you imagine the NIMBY reaction if Illinois tried to actually generate 50% of their power from wind? Maybe they could cover Indiana with wind farms.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 17, 2011 | 9:14 a.m.

It's amazing that the reporter followed Heidorn's quote with "According to the American Wind Energy Association, 1 percent of Missouri’s energy was provided by wind power in 2010" but then didn't show how far off she is regarding Illinois. It's equally amazing that the editor didn't question the Illinois statistic.

Would debunking Heidorn's claim have made readers wonder what else Coal Free Mizzou's members don't know? Sure, but sometimes that's what happens when journalism holds up a mirror to the world. AP's Fact Check series is another example.

(Report Comment)
Alex Baumhardt October 17, 2011 | 10:19 a.m.

Thank you all for your keen observation of the 50% Illinois wind power statistic. My name is Alex Baumhardt and I was the reporter who wrote this article. It was poor reporting on my part to overlook fact checking Heidorn's estimate of wind power generated in Illinois. According to the American Wind Energy Association, in 2010, 2.2% of Illinois' power was supplied by wind energy.

More can be learned by following this link:
http://www.awea.org/_cs_upload/learnabou...

Thanks again for your feedback,

Alex Baumhardt
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)

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