Can Woodstock implement renewable energy?

Imagine a world where the existence of fossil fuels is redefined. A place where instead of struggling to work with renewable energy, we’re thriving in it, similar to how a few countries explained in the recent COP26. Where there are more advanced climate action goals summits are trying to reach. It would certainly be a win-win situation, and a school like Woodstock is always motivated to bring such changes. 

Now, with Woodstock’s 250 acre-plus land, the potential for such renewable energy or rather “green” projects is lofty. But, initiating a solar or wind farm is rather impractical looking at Mussoorie’s rapidly changing weather. In order to procure reliable energy from a solar plant, there should be at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Mussoorie only receives 50% to 75% of that value discarding any practicality behind installing such a plant (Climate-Data.org). 

Wind energy is feasible; however, it takes up way too much land space, and again, may not even be as reliable. Before installation, we must also address factors, such as the overall wind speed in Mussoorie, that define energy production.

Thus, Woodstock is left with installing a Hydropower plant, called a micro-hydro. Research says that “it takes 0.265 acres of land to generate a megawatt-hour of electricity” (Freeing Energy). With Woodstock’s capacity and already existing diverse forms of energy procurement, this project is certainly attainable. With hydropower requiring a stream, the hills are the best place to install such a system. Also, considering that the plant is located on a slanting (downwards) slope, the water force will be higher. With higher water forces, turbines move quicker, generating more energy. This plant will turn out to be beneficial because it will manage Woodstock’s energy consumption.

Beginning with our senior girl’s dorm (Midlands), we have already installed a 500,000-liter rainwater harvesting tank to suit the needs of one of our toilet sectors currently present in that area. Our sole goal is to lessen consumption from the Midlands stream so communities on the hillside have better access to it. To help reduce our water usage, one of our regularly practiced activities consists of decreasing the number of “hot water” accessibility hours in dorms. This way, when we do start to reduce our consumption, students don’t feel the impact (hot water increases consumption). 

We have also partnered with an NGO in Dehradun called CEDAR that focuses on environmental activism. Scientifically, we decided that creating ditches in the soil would help gather rainwater, which would further “seep through the soil” and enter our water aquifer systems (Singh, Dhrubhagat). That’s another way we have reduced water intake from the Midlands stream. We’re trying to serve the local communities here, but also become environmentally friendly.

Other projects that have been initiated with the Center for Science and Imagination are “reviving a defunct rainwater harvesting system and initiating solid waste management” (Center for Science and Imagination). The SBHP (Sustainable Buildings and Habitat Programme) signed a formal contract with Woodstock to develop certain “green” projects as mentioned earlier. To simplify the contract, the development was publicized using the statement treading lightly on the earth – one of our guiding principles. 

It is essential to implement such projects as the future depends on them. By 2050, petroleum and all other fossil fuels will be diminished, leaving us with renewables as our only option. It is in our best interest to move towards it, fast and efficiently, but to do it in a smart manner. 

Featured image from https://www.woodstockschool.in/woodstock-needs-a-watershed-moment/

Aarya is a staff reporter.

Edited by Ira.

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