College campuses may lead 100% renewable energy transition

April 2, 2017

Campus sustainability efforts have colleges leading in transition to renewable energyUniversities and colleges can play a crucial role in the transition to power the U.S. with 100% renewable energy, according to a report highlighted in a recent Solar Industry article. 

Hundreds of schools nationwide have adopted campus sustainability plans with carbon neutrality targets. The best way to enact those plans is by setting renewable energy goals, according to the report Renewable Energy 100: The Course to a Carbon-Free Campus, published by the Environment America Research & Policy Center.

From the article:

“By adopting plans for a rapid and steady shift to 100 percent, clean, renewable energy, America’s colleges and universities can play a vital role in the country’s efforts to reduce climate-altering carbon pollution,” states Rob Sargent, energy program director for Environment America. 

The report referenced in the article cites several reasons institutions of higher learning can move to the head of the class when it comes to the potential of their clean energy investments. Universities are significant energy consumers, serving more than 20 million students, or 6% of the U.S. population. They spend more than $14 billion per year on energy, making them good candidates to save money with renewable energy. And their campuses often have buildings and land that make good locations for hosting clean energy projects.

The report also highlights several campuses that have already taken steps toward carbon neutrality with renewable and clean energy investments, including Cornell University, Indiana’s Ball State University and California’s Butte College, which became the first campus to be grid-positive in 2011.

America could generate all of its energy from renewable sources, according to the report:

Studies conducted by multiple academic and governmental institutions have determined America can use clean energy to affordably and reliably provide all of the nation’s energy needs, largely using technologies that already exist including wind power, solar power, energy efficiency and energy storage.

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