ACTION & PROGRESS
100% Renewable: College & university campuses
America’s over 5,000 universities, colleges and community colleges are big energy consumers, with large buildings, many of which are open 24/7. At the same time, college campuses are largely self-contained communities, and therefore better able to find ways to generate all the power they need from clean, renewable sources — especially given the expertise among their faculty and the enthusiasm among their students for going green.
Cornell University, Green Mountain College and Colorado State University are among the campuses that already have committed to going 100 percent renewable. Our goal is to expand that number to 10 campuses by June 2018, add 25 more by June 2019, and add another 35 by June 2020.
To achieve these goals, our organizers are working with the campus communities at 50 campuses in 10 states including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California, University of Massachusetts and University of Washington. To date, over 350 faculty members from across the country have supported us in calling for commitments to 100 percent renewable energy — many of whom will prove to be valuable allies when we ask local and state government leaders to consider taking similar action.
To lay the foundation for this critical work we have produced and distributed a series of reports and factsheets including, Renewable Energy 101: Ten Tools to Move Your Campus to 100% Clean Energy, spoken at conferences to students, faculty and administrators, and partnered with Second Nature, the leaders of the President’s Climate Commitments.
100% Renewable: Cities & states
Given the headwinds we're facing in Washington — and more to the point, given the administration's views on energy — now more than ever, we need our mayors and governors to lead the way for clean energy.
San Diego, Atlanta and St. Petersburg, Fla., are among the more than 50 cities that have already committed to going 100 percent renewable. Our state and local advocates and organizers are working right now to persuade more cities, including Los Angeles and Las Cruces, N.M., to join their ranks.
We’re also supporting 100% renewable state-level legislation in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington state and New York. The California bill, which set a goal of 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by 2045, passed the Senate in 2017, but came up short in the Assembly. The Massachusetts bill, which sets a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050, has made it more likely the state will increase its renewable energy goals and the pace at which it achieves them.
Outside of the Washington, D.C., bubble, we’re finding bipartisan support for action on clean energy, including the Republican mayors of Lancaster, CA and Georgetown, TX, and Republican legislators in Pennsylvania and California. Our researchers, advocates, members and activists have won significant progress on clean energy over the past few decades, including policies that have resulted in greater energy efficiency, more wind power and more solar power in 25 states. With Washington’s leadership missing or counterproductive, now is the time to rally our local and state leaders to think bigger and act more boldly.
100% Renewable: Congress
It’s no secret that the 115th Congress is not going to vote for America to go 100% renewable.
But every long journey starts with a single step. In 2017, Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Ed Markey (Mass.) and Reps. Jared Polis (Colo.), Jared Huffman (Calif.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) introduced legislation that would put the U.S. on a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
By filing the bill, joining forces with members of Congress who are willing to champion it, and winning support for it from academics, scientists, environmentalists, health professionals, business owners and others, we can begin to shift the debate on the national level — in essence, making a 100% renewable energy economy the standard by which more Americans measure whether new energy policy proposals will move us in the right or wrong direction.
Currents of energy and hope
Robert F. Kennedy once said that each time we stand up for an ideal, we send forth a “tiny ripple of hope.”
Imagine ripples of energy emanating from each new campus or each new city or town that commits to 100 percent renewable power. Imagine these ripples converging into a great current that reaches every corner of our country and shines a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. That’s what this campaign is all about.