Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Hampton University president seeks $35M for geothermal heating
Hampton University President William Harvey wants $35 million, and he's not shy about asking for it.
He personally handed a proposal to install a geothermal heating system to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman, who was on campus Friday for Sen. Mark R. Warner's Virginia Summit on Energy Opportunities.
HU is seeking stimulus money to replace its coal-powered steam plant that was built in 1868.
Before Warner introduced Poneman to the nearly 500 people at the summit, he said there is no one who is "more passionate, more relentless, more committed to getting things done than Bill Harvey."
Harvey does it through force of personality, Warner said, adding, "How many of you have been in a meeting with Bill Harvey where Bill Harvey is after something?"
Warner held up a letter addressed to U.S. Energy Secretary Steve Chu in which he supports HU's proposal for the $35 million for a geothermal heating system.
After speaking at the summit, Poneman said geothermal energy is a new process that he doesn't know much about but is certainly an area of promise.
Virginia is allotted $130 million this year for energy programs and grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
HU would be the first university to replace an existing heating system with a geothermal one.
Harvey said having Poneman on campus to personally see the smokestack that emits 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year boded well for his proposal.
"To have the deputy secretary of energy come here, and be able to 'kick the tire,' so to speak, I think that will have tremendous impact to come," Harvey said.
HU will replace its steam plant no matter what, he said, even if it has to do so building by building.