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PSU signing on to 100% renewable electricity by 2030

By Stephanie Robinson; For the Clock
On November 17, 2016

PSU signing on to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 

Stephanie Robinson

For The Clock

robinson1@plymouth.edu 

Countless information sessions, a lot of convincing, and 1,500 signatures’ later, President Birx has signed on to Plymouth State University having 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The question is, how are we going to make this happen in less than 15 years? 

The president of the Climate Reality Project Campus Corps at PSU, Meg Suda, stated that the steps that were taken to make this happen were “getting signatures on the hub lawn with volunteers, going to class rooms and talking about campaign, also getting faculty endorsement. Once we hit 1,500 signatures’, a 3rd of the student body, we asked for a meeting with President Birx.” During the first initial meeting with the president, he wanted to strive for it, but wasn’t sure if he could commit due to a lack of information. The campaign then drafted more specific ideas. When the second meeting came around, Brian Eisenhauer, the Director of Sustainability at PSU, spoke to the logistics of carrying out the plan and how it will work in terms of buying electricity. Seeing the student support of the project, and the feasibility, Birx agreed to 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

Eisenhauer discussed how we are already doing this and what strides PSU will take in the future. In regards to how are we going to have 100% renewable electricity, he stated, “Setting ambitious goals means that we don’t have an answer for that yet. However, renewable energy is really growing on campus, which I’m happy to say. When it comes to being directly related to electricity, the most significant has been the solar electricity on top of Hyde Hall. We got the annual report and found that it produced more electricity then was predicted and it was the cheapest electricity on campus. We paid about 3,000 dollars less than we did for the other sources we purchase from.”

“In addition to the solar development,” Eisenhauer continued, “we have been exploring a lot of other renewable energies on campus. In the PE center, we are heating it with bio diesel, produced from vegetable oil. We are one of the only universities in the nation that has done it. This decreases our carbon foot from about 80%. It is also typically cheaper then oil. If everything went ideally, perhaps we would convert our campus-heating plan to bio diesel, if we did that, we could have the possibility to produce electricity off of that. If we did that, combined with solar, we would be on our way to having 100% renewable electricity.”

Though this process will not be easy, PSU is optimistic to make this possible by the end date and have a positive impact on the environment. There will be a press conference on November 17 at 9 am to celebrate president Birx’s commitment in the Hub. 

 

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