St. Lawrence University, NY Renewable Energy Initiative

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted in March 2007

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The signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment by President Daniel F. Sullivan in March of 2007 commits St. Lawrence to ‘climate neutrality.' The ACUPCC defines climate neutrality as ‘zero net greenhouse gas emissions'. Thanks to the hard work of a few students, St. Lawrence University has a good estimate of our greenhouse gas emissions. We know that around 49% of the carbon emissions come from heating, 36% from electricity and 13% from transportation.

The University's ultimate goal is to generate our own power from renewable sources. What does using a renewable source mean? Will we buy a hydro plant, form a cooperative wind farm or install solar panels? We don't know. However, there are three things we can be sure of: one, we must utilize a mixture of technologies to generate our own power; two, we must put equal resources into conservation and efficiency of energy use as we put into development of renewable power generation and three, we will never be able to be climate neutral without offsetting some of our greenhouse gas emissions.

If renewable power generation is in the future, where are we today? We are planning our switch to renewable power generation and while we do so we have begun to purchase renewable energy. Understanding the importance of using electricity generated from renewable sources the University selected a new electricity supplier in the summer of 2007. Juice Inc is a company with a more holistic approach to selling electricity. Juice will not only help St. Lawrence buy renewable power they will also help us monitor our greenhouse gas emissions.

We have purchased 2,475 MWh, of renewable electricity or 15% of the University's total electricity usage. This power generated by wind turbines is equivalent to running half of the Student Center and half of the Johnson Hall of Science with renewable sources. In signing the ACUPCC we agreed to purchase 15% of our electricity from renewable sources by September of 2008 and now we can proudly say we have met this goal.