Sourcing Renewables  -  January 30, 2019

Middlebury College premieres Energy2028 Plan

Middlebury College announced a commitment to power its core Vermont campus with 100% renewable energy by 2028. The College also set ambitious goals to reduce energy consumption, to phase out direct fossil-fuel investments in its endowment, and to create new educational programs and opportunities that will help empower future generations of environmental leaders.

These four commitments frame “Middlebury Energy 2028, a plan organized by the College in response to the threat of climate change. A statement noted, “The move is a renewal of the Vermont institution’s decades-long commitment to environmental leadership, which began with the creation of the country’s first undergraduate environmental studies program in 1965.” Three years ago, the College become the largest U.S. campus to achieve carbon neutrality without the use of purchased credits.

“After much study and discussion, and with the input, encouragement, and even passionate advocacy of many students, faculty, staff, and alumni, the board today has taken a bold step to shape this institution’s future,” said Middlebury President Laurie L. Patton. “This plan is true to Middlebury’s culture and values. It is bold and aspirational while remaining realistic and highly practical. It acknowledges that we do not have all the solutions at our disposal at this moment to meet these goals, but it commits us to make every effort to do so. I could not be prouder or more inspired by our institution than I am today.”

Renewable electricity generation already accounts for approximately 50 percent of Middlebury’s usage. Future investments in renewable sources such as solar and, possibly, hydropower, will increase that figure to the goal of 100 percent. In doing this, Middlebury will seek, wherever possible, to make those investments in Vermont.

Under this new plan, Middlebury will shift to use renewable natural gas (RNG) and eliminate the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel, as a supplemental energy source for the biomass plant. RNG is generated using cow manure and processed food waste, and Middlebury is partnering on a proposed digester project in nearby Salisbury, Vermont.

 

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