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Key Objective: 3. Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution

If half of emission reductions needed to get to carbon neutrality come from conservation, then the other half will have to come from changing to clean (nonemissions-generating) energy sources.

81% of campus energy comes from Abbott Power Plant, which burns coal and natural gas to create steam to heat buildings and generate electricity. The remaining energy needed is purchased from the regional electricgrid, which includes substantial contributions from burning coal and gas. By generating energy differently on campus, and by buying energy from low-carbon sources (wind, solar, etc.), campus can eliminate a large portion of its carbon footprint.

Goal: Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by FY20. Future goals: 40% reduction by FY 2025, 50% reduction by 2030, 75% reduction by 2040, and 100% reduction by 2050.

In 2014, the campus had achieved an 11% total decrease, mostly due to improvements in energy efficiency.


5. The Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution SWATeam, in collaboration with Facilities & Services and topical Consultation Groups, will lead an exploration of options for 100% clean campus energy during FY16, and submit recommendations through the formal sustainability process. Clean energies to be explored include:

» Geothermal heating and cooling.

» Air-source heat pumps.

» Biomass replacement for coal.

» Solar Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal.

6. Expand on-campus solar energy production. By FY20, produce at least 12,500 MWh/year, and by FY25 at least 25,000 MWh/yr, from solar installations on campus property. These targets represent 5% and 10% of expected 2050 electricity demand, respectively.

7. Expand the purchase of clean energy. By FY20, obtain at least 120,000 MWh/ yr, and by FY25 at least 140,000 MWh/ yr from low-carbon energy sources. These targets represent 48% and 56% of expected 2050 electricity demand, respectively. Some options:

» Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – a contract with an energy generator promising our purchase. Our promise of payment may allow them to expand generation, knowing they will have funds to rely on.

» Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) – The energy in the grid is mixed, coming from both renewable and nonrenewable sources, and it’s impossible to “unmix” it so that campus can buy only the renewable energy. Renewable Energy Certificates confirm a certain amount of renewable energy was added to the grid, and their purchase could allow us to make specific claims about our use of renewable energy.

8. Offset all emissions from the National Petascale Computing Facility (and other successor facilities) by the next contract from the National Science Foundation.