Professor: Claims are part of OC’s ‘green mythology’


To the editor:

I read the article “Malfunction casts shadow on solar output” that appeared in your last edition with great interest. I write to call attention to some key features in that article.

First, the article correctly states that Oberlin College sells all of the electricity generated by the OSSO array to the city at a price of $0.085 per kWh. That makes it impossible for this same electricity to power the new “solar” Hotel at Oberlin.

When I pointed this out in a letter to the editor of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, the editor of that magazine responded that the college finance office denies that it sells the electricity to the city. Both the claim that the Hotel is powered by the OSSO array and the denial by the college finance office are false. They represent a reckless disregard for truth.

Second, the article states (attributed to Oberlin College’s sustainability coordinator Bridgett Flynn) that the OSSO array supplied 12 percent of the college’s electricity in 2013 and 16 percent in 2014. This can only be true if in 2014 the output of the array rose by 33 percent or the total electricity of the college went down by 33 percent. Neither is the case.

This claim is just part of Oberlin College’s green mythology – consistent with the disclosure it filed in early 2016 (recently modified) with the ACUPCC in which it claimed its 2014 electric use was 6,000,000 kWh less than previous years. In fact, the college electric use over the last 10 years has, on average, risen by 1,000,000 every four years. The Hotel at Oberlin has, in seven months of operation, used as much electricity as the Oberlin Inn it replaced. And this is before any of its retail space is occupied and the second portion is completed.

John H. Scofield