Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  January 22, 2019

Brown to offset 100% campus electricity

Brown University announced agreements for two renewable energy projects that are expected to produce enough combined solar and wind power to offset all on-campus electricity use.

The first project will create a 50-megawatt solar facility, which will be Rhode Island’s highest-capacity contiguous solar generation project, across a 240-acre field on a former gravel pit in North Kingstown. The project is a collaboration with Constellation and Energy Development Partners. A statement from the University noted that use of the former gravel pit will avoid any encroachment on neighborhoods or large-scale tree-clearing, two quality-of-life and environmental concerns commonly associated with new renewable projects.”

The solar project is expected to offset about 70% of Brown’s annual electricity consumption. The second project, an 8-megawatt wind power project being developed in Texas, will offset the rest of Brown’s annual use. The statement said, “Together, the two projects position the University to far surpass the goal it set a decade ago to cut on-campus greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent below 2007 levels by the year 2020. With the fulfillment of that goal in sight, Brown is now devising a plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions even more aggressively.”

“In choosing to offset all on-campus electricity use with renewable energy, we are taking a significant step forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said University President Christina Paxson. “We realize that there is much more work ahead to ensure we do all we can to contribute to global efforts to combat the increasingly dire threat posed by climate change.”

Committee chair Stephen Porder, Brown’s assistant provost for sustainability and an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, said the University’s renewable energy purchases will contribute significantly to the State of Rhode Island’s clean-energy objective to increase the amount of renewable energy in the state from 100 megawatts to 1,000 megawatts by 2020. “By enabling the construction of 40 megawatts of new renewables that will flow directly into Rhode Island’s electrical grid, Brown will play a substantial role in boosting the renewable energy assets in support of the state’s clean energy goals,” Porder said.

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