In a move that increases the demand for renewable energy in Maine, Bowdoin announced on Monday that it would purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from UPC Wind's Mars Hill Wind project.
The Maine RECs replace RECs that Bowdoin previously held from various out-of-state locations.
Maine law requires that 30 percent of Bowdoin's energy be clean.
The College maintains its carbon neutrality by buying RECs for the other 70 percent.
Although Bowdoin is not actually using the power generated by Mars Hill, the RECs bind Mars Hill to produce the appropriate amount of energy.
Coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson noted that the College also focuses on using energy wisely.
"I think just as powerful and good for Bowdoin is our efforts to focus on energy conservation and energy efficiency," Payson said.
Climate Commitment Advisory Committee member, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Treasurer Katy Longley agreed, saying, "The energy we do buy, we try to offset."
While Longley said that she couldn't disclose the amount spent on the wind RECs, she did say that the total cost of Bowdoin's RECs is about $30,000, or a little more than one percent of the electricity budget.
Three percent of Bowdoin's RECs comes from Mars Hill's wind power, and 67 percent are hydro RECs from Worumbo Mill in Lisbon Falls, Maine.
Professor of Economics David Vail, who is also on the advisory committee, said that the deal benefits the College by benefiting Maine's environment.
"We're participating in a process that's stimulating demand for renewable energy," Vail said.
Vail added that the purchases prove Bowdoin's commitment to green energy.
"What we gain is what economists call reputational capital," Vail said. "Bowdoin benefits by being viewed as an institution that is ambitiously pursuing clean energy and energy efficiency."