Boston University will meet 100% of electricity consumption with wind

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Jake Taber

Environment America

Boston University will purchase wind energy to meet 100 percent of its electricity consumption, President Robert A. Brown announced today.


Jake Taber, Clean Energy Fellow with Environment America, issued the following statement:

“We’re thrilled to see Boston University go 100 percent renewable. This commitment stands as an example that other universities across the country, as key institutions in their communities and states, should follow. Boston University’s hundreds of thousands of students and alumni should be proud of their school’s contribution to a cleaner, healthier future.

“A growing number of institutions, businesses, cities, and states are committing to 100 percent renewable energy. Just this month, the University of California system, which serves 238,000 students, committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2025. These commitments should give us confidence to go further: If BU and the UC system can commit to 100%, then the entire higher education sector should do the same and help lead our country’s transition to clean power.

“We encourage more institutions to follow Boston University’s lead in switching to 100 percent renewable electricity; which provides the foundation for also moving off of fossil fuels used for heat and transportation. Our country’s abundant renewable energy resources, from wind off the eastern seaboard to solar in Arizona, could meet our comprehensive energy needs many times over while reducing local air pollution, protecting public health and helping to avert the worst effects of climate change.”

Boston University will purchase power from a wind farm in South Dakota and retain the renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the project. The university’s 15-year power purchase agreement is an important source of financing for the project, ensuring that additional renewable energy generation will be added to the grid as a result of the transaction.

Today’s announcement is a major step in implementing the university’s Climate Action Plan, announced last December, which aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Harvard University has also committed to a goal of 100 percent clean electricity. Hampshire College recently became the first residential college in the United States powered entirely by on-campus solar panels.

Earlier this month, the University of California announced plans to power its campuses and medical centers statewide with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025, and refrain from using natural gas for heating or hot water in new buildings or major renovations starting in June 2019.

BU isn’t alone in thinking boldly about a 100% Renewable Energy future in Massachusetts: during the Commonwealth’s 2017-2018 legislative session, 56 representatives and senators cosponsored a bill for Massachusetts to run on 100 percent renewable energy economy-wide by 2050.

California recently passed a bill for 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, matching a similar commitment by Hawaii.