Category Archives: Green Campuses

New campaign launched on 30 campuses urges colleges and universities to shift to 100 percent clean renewable power

Environment America News Release

As national campus sustainability month kicks off, Environment America Research & Policy Center is launching 30 campaigns in 11 states, pressing colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The initiative aims to get 150 schools to commit by 2021 to exclusively using renewable energy.

The nationwide effort includes targeted weeks of action, petition drives and direct engagement with administration officials to reach this goal. Thousands of students and faculty from every region of the country are expected to mobilize for this cause. Read more here.

The University of California system is ending its investment in fossil fuels

By Umair Irfan, Vox

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

The University of California system, which educates more than 280,000 students and employs 227,000 faculty and staff, announced late Tuesday it is divesting from fossil fuels. It’s the single largest action to date in the growing movement of institutions withdrawing their financial stakes in the industry that’s the principal driver of climate change. “We believe hanging on to fossil fuel assets is a financial risk,” wrote Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the UC’s chief investment officer, and Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ Investments Committee, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. By the end of September, the UC’s $70 billion pension fund and $13.4 billion endowment will no longer hold any stakes in companies involved with extracting fossil fuels. Read more here.

Related 

  • Study Warns that Gas Plants Could become Stranded Assets, Microgrid Knowledge
    Utilities, investors and regulators should stop the rush to natural gas and choose clean energy portfolios (CEP) made up of combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response, warns a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). If they don’t, many gas plants will become stranded assets, raising the specter that ratepayers will have to pay for them, said Chaz Teplin, a manager in RMI’s electricity practice. “We’re hoping that regulators, utilities and investors think really hard about whether new gas plants are wise investments,” said Teplin.
  • Previously Posted: The growing concern over stranded assets, GreenBiz

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

MORE ON CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

THE TERRATON PROJECT

Mission: Remove a trillion tons of carbon from the atmosphere, GreenBiz
The Terraton Initiative embodies one specific goal — to remove 1 trillion metric tons of carbon from Earth’s atmosphere. Indigo Agriculture, an agricultural technology company based in Massachusetts, founded and runs the project.

GLOBAL ENERGY STORAGE REPORTS

Nothing standing in the way of energy storage’s ‘explosive growth’: Navigant, Utility Dive
“Nothing really does seem to be standing in the way of its explosive growth,” Ricardo Rodriguez, research analyst for distributed energy storage at Navigant Research, told Utility Dive. The market research company in its latest report identified close to 2,100 energy storage projects globally. And international storage markets are anticipated to grow exponentially over the next decade, a second report from Rethink Technology Research found.

What Is the Climate Strike? An Adult’s Guide to What, Why, and How to Help

By Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Senior Analyst, Climate & Energy,
Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

On Friday, September 20, a rare moment will take place in the long and bruising climate fight: a youth-led, global demonstration of power, solidarity, and determination—and if history is any guide, real beauty, too. On this day, in thousands of locations around the world, young people—perhaps millions—will strike against a status quo of complacency, inaction, and injustice on climate change, and join voices to demand a livable future. Here are some things you need to know to about the upcoming climate strike, including why this moment is so vital, and how you can show your support as an ally to youth around the globe and right here at home.

When I was around [16-year old Swedish climate activist and original climate striker, Greta Thunberg’s] age, climate change was already in the news and on my mind. But unlike today, we had time then to arrest the problem, bend the upward curve our emissions were on, and avert really dangerous changes and impacts. And unlike Greta and today’s young climate activists, I had great confidence that we would do it. Anything else would be insane, disastrous, unthinkable. But here we are, several decades later. Read more here.

Nebraska Events

Omaha Climate Strike
Friday, September 20, 2019 – 8 AM to 12 PM
Omaha City Hall steps, 1819 Farnam Street
Click here for details.

Nebraska Climate Strike – Lincoln
Friday, September 20, 2019
Meet at Nebraska Union’s Green Space at 2:30 PM on UNL’s campus.
March begins at 3 PM to Nebraska State Capitol Building, 1445 K Street.
Join this event on Facebook. 

Previously Posted News, Opinion & Resources

We Are Still In Coalition

Almost 4,000 states, cities, counties, companies, universities, colleges and other institutions are now members of the We Are Still In coalition, which is committed to meeting the U.S. emissions goals under the Paris Agreement. Coalition leaders currently represent over 150 million people and nearly $9.5 trillion in GDP.

Environment America Resources

CSU makes sustainable practices a focal point

By Jackie Laughlin, The Creightonian

Among many events and initiatives that Creighton Students Union worked on this summer, the implementation of sustainability on campus were the most abundant. The plans for sustainability initiatives did not stop with the beginning of school. CSU is also planning their first Farmer’s Market to take place over Family Weekend on Sept. 20 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in Anderson Plaza.

According to Donna Shahbazi, president of CSU, the market is a sustainability initiative from the Board of Representatives in which fresh and organic food from local vendors will be brought to campus. Shahbazi said that the organization is also continuing to push forward the asks of the Creighton Climate Justice movement. “One of those asks is that the University divest their endowment from the fossil fuel industry. Members on our Board of Representatives are writing a Divestment Referendum that will be up for an internal CSU vote this month,” she said.
Read more here.

Photo: Creighton University’s 85-kilowatt parking lot solar canopy off Cuming Street.

Previously Posted

Opinion: Renewable electricity is the solution to the climate crisis, by Zach Renshaw, Chair of Doane University’s Climate Reality Campus Corps, The Doane Line

International News

  • Majors urged to lead energy transition, Petroleum Economist
    International oil companies (IOCs) face a major challenge from investors pulling out of fossil fuel-related businesses but are also in a unique position to reshape public perceptions and become trusted custodians of the world’s energy resources, a leading force behind the COP 21 Paris Agreement told the SPE Offshore Europe 2019 conference. In the past four years over 1,000 institutions have together pledged to divest more than $6tn from fossil fuels, an 11,200pc increase over the previous period, says Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016.
  • MP Pension blacklists oil companies including Shell, BP and Exxon, IPE.Com

We Are Still In Coalition Update

Here in the United States, almost 4,000 states, cities, counties, companies, and other institutions are now members of the We Are Still In coalition, which is committed to meeting the U.S. emissions goals under the Paris Agreement.

Save the Date! October 8, 2019: Our speaker will be Tyler Mainquist, CFP®, ChFC®, CAP®, CLTC Financial Advisor, Central Financial Services, Lincoln.

Align Your Principal with Your Principles – Investing in a Clean Energy Economy

This presentation will provide practical methods for implementing sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing — including how to avoid carbon-intensive and other polluting industries, and instead support companies that are working to reduce, mitigate, and/or adapt to our changing global climate. Additional material will cover recent updates re: comparisons against traditional investing, as well as the use of companies’ ESG (environmental, social, governance) data to reduce financial risk by avoiding bad corporate behavior.

Co-sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, Conservation Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team

Click here for additional details.

Opinion: Renewable electricity is the solution to the climate crisis

By Zach Renshaw, The Doane Line

This year at Doane, the Climate Reality Project Campus Corps of Doane University are working to help Doane commit to 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030. There are a number of benefits to pursuing this: lower costs, lower environmental impact, first in the state, etc. Doane was not only the first school in Nebraska to divest from fossil fuels last spring but [also] to commit to be the first school in the state to become carbon neutral through 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Continue reading here.

Photo: Zach Renshaw, Chair of Doane University’s Climate Reality Campus Corps

Previously Posted

More About The Climate Reality Project

100% Committed
Climate Reality Project’s 100% Committed Toolkit offers a step-by-step guide to building a 100% campaign, as well as all the tips and resources needed to organize your community and work with your school, city or town, or local businesses to shift to 100-percent renewable electricity.

Climate Reality Campus Corps
With help from National Climate Reality staff, students at participating campuses receive guidance in designing campaigns and organizing fellow students to convince their schools to embrace clean energy and sustainability.

Jonathan Scott Answers Climate Reality’s Solar Energy Questions
The following conversation is excerpted from Knowledge is Power, a new collaborative e-book from solar energy advocate and Property Brothers co-host Jonathan Scott and Climate Reality. Download a free copy of the e-book.

Video: Climate 101 With Bill Nye 
Take Climate 101 with Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and learn the scientific fundamentals of climate change in under five minutes.

Solar as a crop? Penn State to install state’s largest solar array on 500 acres of farmland.

By Ellie Rushing, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Glenn and Catherine Dice have been farmers all their lives, owning 60 cows at one point and growing corn, wheat, alfalfa, and barley on what has become 700 acres in Franklin County, southwest of Harrisburg. But in the last year, the Dices added a new crop to their fields: solar panels. In a growing trend across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, the Dices have agreed to a 25-year contract to rent 134 acres to Lightsource BP, a London-based solar company with an office in Philadelphia. Lightsource is renting a total of 500 acres of land from seven Franklin County farm owners to install a utility-scale solar array with 150,000 panels, in what will be the largest solar installation in the state. It will sell the power generated to Pennsylvania State University, providing 25% of the university’s electrical needs for all its campuses. As a nonprofit, Penn State is not eligible for the 30% tax incentive that comes with installing solar. Since Lightsource is eligible, purchasing the electricity through that company significantly reduces the university’s entry cost and liability. Read more here.

Doane university divests from fossil fuels

KLKN TV News

Doane University students and staff are working together to get the university to divest from the fossil fuel industry by 2030.  They will be switching to sustainable technologies through investing in renewable resources as the source of their power. Doane currently has two investments in the oil and gas industries that are set to expire in the next 10 years. Through the influence of the student movement, the university has agreed to no longer renew these partnerships. Doane University’s agreement is the first in Nebraska. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Doane Commits Divestment of Fossil Fuels, Doane Line
Doane University has committed to no longer investing in fossil fuels, according to a press release on Monday May 21st. “On May 3, 2019, Doane University’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to stop and end all future investments in fossil fuel companies,” the press release stated.

America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy

A report by Environment America Research & Policy Center
Environment America News Release

America’s colleges and universities are leading the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. Small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges  alike, from every corner of the U.S., are taking the lead in reducing energy consumption,  deploying renewable energy technologies, and switching to electric vehicles.

The nation’s leading campuses for clean energy — from the University of Minnesota, Morris to  Southwestern University in Texas — are setting a strong example for other colleges and the  nation as a whole to follow. More than 40 colleges and universities now obtain 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources.  And, of the 180 schools that  have reported their renewable energy data to The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), 91 percent are using some amount of renewable energy.

Campuses are also leading in cleaning up our transportation system. Each of the top 10 schools for electric vehicles (EVs) in this ranking have switched over 60 percent of their campus-owned vehicles to EVs. Of the 261 campuses reporting their campus fleet details to STARS, 88 percent have at least one EV. Continue reading here.

Download the full report.
Learn about Environment America’s 100% Renewable campaign.

Renewable Energy Job Boom Creates Economic Opportunity As Coal Industry Slumps

By Silvio Marcacci, Forbes

Renewable energy jobs are booming across America, creating stable and high-wage employment for blue-collar workers in some of the country’s most fossil fuel-heavy states, just as the coal industry is poised for another downturn.

Economics are driving both sides of this equation: Building new renewable energy is cheaper than running existing coal plants and prices get cheaper every year. By 2025, almost every existing coal plant in the United States will cost more to operate than building replacement wind and solar within 35 miles of each plant. Multiple states and utilities are setting 100% clean energy goals, creating new demand for workers to build solar panels and wind turbines. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GREEN CAMPUSES

Johns Hopkins Announces Major Solar Power Commitment, Hub

Marking the largest commitment to solar energy in Maryland and one of the most significant pledges to greenhouse gas reduction in higher education, Johns Hopkins University has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its campuses with more than 250,000 megawatt hours of solar power per year.

GLOBAL NEWS

  • Earth Matters: Climate change challenges from every corner of the globe, CBS News
    On April 22, 1970, CBS News marked the first ever Earth Day with a special report anchored by Walter Cronkite. “The gravity of the message of Earth Day still came through: act or die,” Cronkite said at the time. CBS News correspondents reported on protests, clean-up efforts, and calls to action from all over the country. It was the start of the modern environmental movement. Now 49 years later, we are covering the environmental issues of the day — this time from every corner of the globe.
  • Solar Energy 2019: Will This Be A Record Year For The Industry?, International Business Times

SOLAR PRODUCT REVIEW

Renogy’s Solar Panels Bring Low Cost, Portable Solar To The Masses, Clean Technica. Renogy has built some impressive portable solar panels that allow consumers to recharge their devices and their portable USB batteries using the power of the sun. It’s a beautiful combination that had me excited when the company reached out to me about a review of its 5 watt and 10 watt portable solar panels.

One third of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy

By Perry Miller, Inhabitat

After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy, which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Read more here.

Photo posted by Inhabitat via IRENA.

ALSO IN THE NEWS – PLUS A FEATURED VIDEO

OP-ED 

You can’t kill the solar industry — and all attempts just make us stronger, by Tony Clifford, Chief Development Officer of Standard Solar, PV Magazine 

Illinois is beginning to build a robust solar industry in the wake of passing its Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, and they’re in the process of following it up with a Clean Energy Jobs Act this year. And they’re not the only Midwestern state to join the Solar Revolution. Minnesota is the birthplace of the best community solar program in the nation, and Michigan is (albeit slowly) bringing its solar policies into the 21st century.