The University of California and California State University systems have made the nation’s largest university purchase of clean energy following a two-year-long campaign push by both Greenpeace and Renew CSU.
The CSU system has purchased a six-month supply of clean energy that will generate 15 percent of the system’s electricity. The clean energy will be a combination of 85 percent wind power and 15 percent solar power, along with other renewable sources.
“This is exactly what we have been fighting for,” said Brendan Lloyd, president of CSUN Greens and a member of Renew CSU, an organization composed of students, faculty and staff from around the CSU.
According to Greenpeace, the purchased clean energy will reduce the effect of global warming and smog produced by harmful energy sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear power.
Greenpeace and Renew CSU hope to convince the CSU to adopt a Sustainability Policy that will declare the system’s allegiance to clean energy usage.
“This is the first step that (the) CSU is taking to respond to (the requests of) over 14,000 faculty, students and staff of Renew CSU and Greenpeace for clean energy standards,” said Josh Lynch, campus organizer for Greenpeace.
The UC and CSU have purchased 39,000 megawatts and 34,000 megawatts of clean energy per hour, respectively, according to Greenpeace.
“The CSU system has been behind state standards for renewable energy, (and) that should be reason why the purchase was so large,” Lynch said. “Our goal is to have universities powered by 25 percent clean energy by 2014.”
“The CSU system energy requirements do not have to meet the state energy requirements, and we want the CSU system to coincide with state regulation,” Lynch said.
He said purchasing renewable energy is now more affordable than it was in the past due to more available clean energy.
Both the CSU and the UC will purchase their clean energy from Phoenix-based APS Energy Services.
“This policy will economically save us in the long run,” said Eric Guerra, a student representative on the CSU Board of Trustees. “We are meeting lead standards for the Sustainability Policy, which will produce a more efficient use of energy (in the system).”
According to Greenpeace, the first part of the Sustainability Policy went into effect with the clean energy purchase.
The CSU Chancellor’s Office will present a draft of the Sustainability Policy to the Board of Trustees on July 19. This draft will include energy conservation goals and sustainable building standards for the system.
The Board of Trustees will vote on the Sustainability Policy draft in September 2005, and if passed, Chancellor Charles Reed will set requirements that individual universities such as CSUN will have to meet.
CSUN has already had two sizeable solar panel systems installed.
“CSUN is the model for the CSU system when it comes to renewable solar energy,” Lloyd said.
“This purchase represents a huge possibility for (the type of) long-term clean energy that Renew CSU has been working toward,” Lynch said.