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Powering up

March 17, 2016

ASU a partner in Red Rock solar power plant, one of the largest in Arizona, furthering the university’s role as a leader in sustainability

Construction workers this month are starting to turn several hundred acres of scrub desert near Red Rock, Arizona, into what will be gleaming fields of solar panels, one of the largest solar power plants in the state — with Arizona State University as a partner.

The project marks another milestone in ASU’s steep and aggressive rise in harnessing the sun’s power since 2004, when ASU first installed a Tempe campus solar array on top of a parking garage on Tyler Street.

Over a dozen years, ASU expanded its renewable-energy capacity multiple times over, debuting parking-lot “parasols,” innovative solar tracking systems, and solar panels that shade the fans at ballgames. ASU and its solar partners operate nearly 90 solar installations across university campuses, which total more than 24 MWdcMWdc stands for megawatts in the form of direct current., one of the largest on-campus university solar-energy portfolios in the nation.

In the Red Rock project, ASU is partnering with the power company APS and online-payment pioneer PayPal to build the plant. Through separate agreements with ASU and PayPal, APS will build, own and operate the plant. ASU and PayPal will purchase power from the plant.

As a result, this project will push the university past a new milestone of 50 MWdc of renewable-energy capacity. ASU will add an additional 150 percent of renewable energy (65,000 MWh, or megawatt hours) per year above and beyond its existing portfolio, furthering the university’s role as a recognized global leader in sustainability.

Solar panels atop Wells Fargo Arena.
Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe is just one of many ASU buildings and parking areas sporting solar panels. There are nearly 90 solar installations across the university.

 

The benefits, though, extend much further than ASU’s metropolitan campuses, explained Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. He said the project:

• Brings new solar-energy capacity to Arizona.

• Provides local construction jobs to Arizona citizens.

• Reduces ASU’s net greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Part of our charter mission is to take responsibility for the social, economic and overall health of the community around us,” Olsen said. “This endeavor also moves us toward ASU's commitment to become climate neutral for all activities except transportation by 2025, and for all activities by 2035.”

ASU’s leadership in sustainability spans research, education and practice, as home to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability, as well as the Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar TechnologiesQESST, or the Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies Engineering Research Center, is part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Engineering Research Center, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

ASU’s acceleration in capturing the sun’s rays includes:

• A parking lot next to Sun Devil Stadium was equipped in 2011 with the first deployment of PowerParasols, an elevated solar system that also shades parked cars and creates event space.

• In 2013, ASU installed a solar-panel canopy over seating at Farrington Stadium, one of nine athletic facilities with solar panels, the most in the nation at the time.

• That same year, ASU’s Polytechnic campus debuted the first use of a new SunPower C7 Tracker technology that concentrates the sun’s power seven times and converts it to electricity.

The Red Rock plant is expected to be online at the end of the year.

 

Top photo courtesy of SunPower Corporation.

 

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ASU event honors "father of English literature" Geoffrey Chaucer.
The reputation of Chaucer is a worldwide phenomenon, says ASU English prof.
March 17, 2016

ASU's Department of English doth host a Chaucer Celebration with tales and song and even a feast, to quench both mind and belly

Patience is a virtue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Time and tide wait for no man.

What these clever idioms have in common isn’t just their good advice — they all originate from the works of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Some may know him best as the guy who wrote those medieval stories they had to read in high school. But for centuries, to a great many people, Chaucer has been known as nothing less than the father of English literature.

“That is a paternal designation that perhaps in some ways obfuscates as much as it clarifies,” said ASU English professor Richard Newhauser. “In any case, it does show that there have been authors that have looked back to him. This extends the reception of Chaucer, the recognition of him as a literary precursor and model for poetic narrative in particular, which has continued right down to our present time.”

In acknowledgment of his lasting influence, the ASU Department of English The Department of English is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.will host the fifth biennial Chaucer Celebration on Friday, March 18, to commemorate the life and work of the medieval author with theater performances, concerts, academic discussions and even a medieval feastA medieval feast, you say? Indeed! Catered by Sun Devil Dining, it will feature pumpes (pork meatballs in almond milk) and salmon as entrees; ris engoule (rice cooked in milk and beef broth, colored with saffron); and potage of roysons (an apple raisin pudding) as dessert — and much more. It is part of a lineup of activities from 2:30 to 4:45 p.m. in the refectory at Barrett, the Honors College, including musical and theatrical performances..

A truly interdisciplinary event, faculty and staff from several departments and entities within the university will be participating, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Institute for Humanities Research, ASU Libraries and Sun Devil Dining.

“We’re really feasting our senses and our sense of history, as well,” said Newhauser.

An expert on Middle English literature, he will participate in the roundtable discussionIt will take place at 10 a.m. in Durham Language and Literature room 316. “Chaucer and Beauty” along with fellow ASU Department of English professor Robert Sturges and featured guest Maura Nolan, associate professor of English at University of California, Berkeley.

Nolan researches the role of the aesthetic in late-medieval vernacular literature. She is particularly interested in notions of the beautiful and the sublime in medieval literature as they relate to an emerging notion of literary style.

According to Newhauser, Chaucer had the ability to shift effortlessly between styles:

“He can be quite serious in stories like ‘A Knight’s Tale,’ or he can write tragedies, as in ‘The Monk’s Tale,’ or he can demonstrate philosophical depth, as in ‘The Tale of Melibee.’ He can also write really rollicking and wonderfully humorous tales like ‘The Miller’s Tale’ or ‘The Reeve’s Tale,’ ” Newhauser said. “That’s part of what gives him an appeal to a wide base of readers and a base of readers that extends over generations. That’s what makes his works classic.”

Since the Chaucer Celebration was first held in 2008, it has always taken place during the spring, just before Easter. That’s because the earliest documented mention of Chaucer comes from a record detailing clothing that was purchased for him so that he might participate in Easter celebrations as a page in service of the Countess of Ulster.

“This demonstrates how our understanding of history from the far-distant past is ultimately rooted in archival documents,” said Newhauser, who is currently at work on the creation of “The Chaucer Encyclopedia,” itself a historical document as it will be the first encyclopedia of Chaucer and his works to ever be completed. It will contain roughly 1,400 entries, 2,000 pages, 1 million words, and will include reinterpretations of Chaucer’s works from across the globe, reinforcing his status as an important literary figure not just of the English-speaking world.

As Newhauser sums it up, “The reputation of Chaucer is really a worldwide phenomenon.”

For a more detailed listing of the Chaucer Celebration events, click here. All events are free and open to the public.

 

Top image from Wikimedia Commons: "Geoffrey Chaucer" c. 1800, tempura on canvas by William Blake (1757–1827).