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EPA Green Power Partner (Ongoing)

Project History

Description

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Partnership has more than 1,700 Partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

In May 2015, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was officially recognized as a Green Power Partner for its purchase of electricity from clean, renewable sources. This designation has been renewed annually, through the continued dedication to a clean energy future for the Urbana-Champaign campus.  In the early years of this designation, our campus needed 3% of the power to be coming from renewable sources, and starting in 2020 the requirement was increased to 7%.

As a Green Power Partner, Illinois joins seven other Big Ten universities in winning the EPA’s Collective Conference Champion Award for the last four years in a row (as of 2019). This award recognizes the collegiate athletic conference, and its member schools, with the highest combined green power use in the nation. The Big Ten’s collective green power use of more than 516 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 47,000 US homes.

Background

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is proud of its sustainability initiatives, as documented in the Illinois Climate Action Plan. One of the most important and challenging initiatives is a shift from conventional energy to the use of renewable energy. Various renewable energy projects have been implemented since signing the Climate Leadership Commitments.

  • The first project was a 32.76 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof of the Business Instructional Facility in 2009.
  • The 14.7 kW PV array, ground mounted at the Building Research Council, is a research platform for the Information Trust Institute.
  • Solar thermal panels on the Activities and Recreation Center roof heat the indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
  • In April 2014, campus purchased 20,000 renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Midwest Independent Systems Operators (MISO) wind power for fiscal year 2015.
  • The Allerton Park, which was left to the University, built an 11,000W/year solar array as a step towards their goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.
  • The most significant on-campus renewable energy generation project to date went into commercial operation in December 2015, with the completion of the 5.87 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm. Since then, the farm has been producing approximately 7,200 MWh/year. Campus is continuously monitoring the efficiency of the Solar Farm, compared to the design specifications, and in February 2016 the Solar Farm produced 100.2% of the anticipated electricity for that month.
  • In December 2015 another solar array was installed on the new Wassaja Residence Hall roof with a capacity of 30 kW.
  • In September 2016, campus signed a ten-year Wind Power Purchase Agreement for 25 million kWh/year.
  • In June 2017, campus installed a 200 kW biomass boiler at the Energy Farm, using Miscanthus grown on site.
  • Since then, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building has had 970 rooftop panels installed, totaling an estimated 470 MWh of electricity annually. Since production began in April 2018, 11% of all power supplied to the ECE Building has been from the rooftop panels, not including the panels that are used for student-oriented research.
  • During FY21, the University will be home to an additional Solar Farm. The Solar Farm 2.0 is projected to produce approximately 20,000 MWh/year, nearly tripling on-site renewable energy production.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Morgan White

    Project Leader:

    Mike Marquissee

Dates

  • Approved January 12, 2015
    Approved by Al Stratman
    Started May 1, 2015
    Started by Mike Marquissee

Themes