Category Archives: Green Campuses

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.

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.

FPL announces plans for the largest community solar program in the U.S.

Florida Power & Light Company News Release, PR Newswire
FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

FPL SolarTogether will significantly expand solar energy in Florida. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 MW of new universal solar at 20 new solar power plants across its service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program.  “This program will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the U.S.” – Eric Silagy, President and CEO of FPL. Read more here.

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

Toyota Driving Demand For Solar Power In Ohio Valley, WKU Public Radio
Automaker Toyota is planning to announce a major investment in solar and other renewable energy in Appalachia and the Southeastern U.S. The plan includes a massive new solar facility on an old surface coal mine property in Kentucky. Photo by Sydney Boles: Part of the 700-acre surface mine still remains to be reclaimed.

GREEN CAMPUSES

RV SOLAR

 

Consider These 7 Key Benefits Of Solar Power For RVing,
Blue and Green Tomorrow

 

LiveGreen: Solar panels up, operational

By Melanie Stewart, Live Green, UNMC Newsroom  

The 1,487 solar panels sit atop the three largest roof surfaces on the UNMC campus. 

The panels can generate up to 500 kilowatts of solar-powered electricity to help power the campus, and “its energy production will equal the average annual electricity use of 60 homes in OPPD’s service territory,” said Jared Friesen of Morrissey Engineering, which designed the project . . . Darren Dageforde, executive director of utilities and energy utilization for UNMC, said the med center already has made great strides in reducing energy use and increasing efficiency. “Having a renewable energy source on campus demonstrates our commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 and parallels our mission to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities.” Read the entire article here.

Previously Posted

OPPD partnering with UNMC on state’s largest rooftop solar array, by Jodi Baker, The Wire

Schools, manufacturers working to “grow our own”

Written by Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

The Hastings Economic Development Corp.’s 45th annual meeting, Thursday evening at The Lark celebrated the work that colleges and school districts in Hastings are exerting to develop young talent and the future workforce . . . CCC broke ground in September 2018 for a 32,000-square-foot renovation and expansion of the Hamilton Building after the CCC Foundation met its $5 million fundraising goal six months ahead of schedule. The Hamilton Building is home to CCC’s advanced manufacturing design technology and welding technology programs . . . CCC is also working on potential partnerships for an energy technology program with companies that are either based in Nebraska or have a presence in Nebraska to train students to work in the renewable energy field in Nebraska. Read the entire article here.

Photo: The wind turbine on the CCC campus that came online in December 2016 has generated 120 percent of the campus’ energy needs in its first two years. Bluestem Energy Solutions of Omaha built and owns the turbine; Hastings Utilities buys and sells the electricity – including to CCC. 

Previously Posted

Lazards, Lazards, LCOE – what’s the cheapest energy?

By John Weaver, PV Magazine USA

Yesterday, Lazards released its Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis version 12.0 for Energy (pdf), and Version 4.0 for Energy Storage (pdf). The document shows that utility scale wind, solar offer the cheapest absolute electricity pricing – without subsidies. When federal tax subsidies are applied, essentially politically palatable forms of a carbon tax, we see all thin film solar cheaper than all gas, and the majority of crystalline silicon solar cheaper than gas. Rooftop solar for residential and commercial, with its broad price ranges representing the broad classes of projects they cover, shows higher pricing. However, this analysis doesn’t consider the additional benefits including avoided costs achieved with behind-the-meter installations, and as such it isn’t a pure apples-to-apples comparison. Read more here.

MORE NATIONAL NEWS


ENERGY STORAGE 

NATIONAL SOLAR EXAMPLES

 

Friends of Venice Library to kick off solar power fundraiser with panel discussion, Herald-Tribune. Iconic nature photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher to serve as spokesman.

 

  • Wisconsin importer and distributor invests in solar energy, Fresh Plaza
    Maglio Companies, an importer and distributor of fresh produce, has installed over 1,100 solar panels on the roof of its Glendale, Wisconsin facility. This array is expected to produce an estimated 477,000 kilowatt hours of sustainable electricity each year. This is equivalent to the annual energy usage of 58 average Wisconsin homes.
  • Minnesota company turns abandoned sand pit into a solar garden, Red Wing Republican Eagle
  • State’s largest solar farm nearing production, The Spokesman-Review. Washington’s largest solar farm will begin commercial production next month in this Columbia Basin town better known for its annual Combine Demolition Derby. Nearly 82,000 solar panels have been installed near Lind’s pioneer-era cemetery, resembling a mirage on the dusty landscape. Sensors adjust the angle of the flat, blue panels throughout the day, allowing them to maximize the capture of solar rays.

GREEN CAMPUSES

Carport Solar Array Receives 2018 Innovative Project Award, MSU Today
Michigan State University’s solar carport project received the 2018 Innovative Project Award from the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan. The award recognizes exemplary projects in the region exhibiting features above and beyond the status quo. MSU’s solar carport array is constructed on five of the university’s largest commuter parking lots and covers 5,000 parking spaces.


Learn about more initiatives here: The Princeton Review Guide to 399 Green Colleges, 2018 Edition

 

INNOVATIVE TRANSIT APP

Transit app raises $17.5M with the help of unlikely investors: automakers, Smart Cities Dive