Colby, a liberal arts college in Maine, was chartered in 1813, making it the 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation. In 1998, an ice storm that knocked out power at several other Maine colleges spared Colby, but gave the people at Colby’s steam plant pause.
In the winter of 1996, Colby performed a feasibility study that predicted a 560 kW turbine would carry a simple payback of 2.3 years at a cost of $353,000. Colby could generate its own electricity, reduce its demand and consumption from the local electric utility, and be able to keep running in a power outage. Libby said the college also hoped to reduce its electric rates.