Stanford University will run on 100% renewable energy by 2021

 In Energy

Stanford University embraced the new renewable energy revolution a long time ago. The University program Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) has enabled the University to cut down greenhouse gas emissions already by 66% from peak levels.

However, the University intends to go further and has signed an agreement with Recurrent Energy to collaborate on an 88-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant to be constructed near Lemoore, in central California.

The plant should be fully functioning by the end of 2021.

When the new plan becomes operational, it will enable the University to use 100% renewable electricity and will achieve California’s target of a carbon-free grid more than two decades ahead.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne in a statement said:

“Sustainability is a major focus for Stanford and a priority for our local community. Completing our transition to clean power builds on the groundbreaking research of Stanford faculty and students, and it marks a major advance in our efforts to provide a sustainable learning environment for our campus.”

New power plant and path to reduce emissions

The Leamore power plant will integrate with the 67-megawatt power of the Stanford Solar Generating Station #1 in Rosamond and a 5 megawatts of on-campus rooftop solar power system.

These three sources of energy will produce enough clean, renewable electricity each year to fulfill the electricity consumption needs for the whole University.

Stanford campus will not be connected directly with the plants in Rosamond and Leamore. These two plants will generate clean solar energy, and this will be redirected into the state’s power grid.

Stanford University will then be able to use the equivalent amount of the power they produced from the main grid.

However, there is another essential element in the University approach towards sustainability. In 2008-09 Stanford began a plan that included high-efficiency standards for new buildings and a review for existing buildings to comply with the new standards.

The University also implemented a program called SESI, which is an advanced energy-management system using thermal energy storage developed by the University to regulate the temperature in the campus buildings.

This program eventually lead to the updating of 155 buildings on campus and converted all the fossil fuels energy supply systems into electrically powered ones.

On Campus participation and sustainability goals

The University created the Sustainability Design Team in order to develop and implement these and other innovations for a carbon-free conversion, as part of its long-term plan towards sustainability.

Robert Reidy, Vice President for land, buildings and real estate, explains:

“Stanford’s deliberate and comprehensive approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions dovetails with the interdisciplinary research and teaching on campus and our commitment to being a good neighbor and citizen.”

Academic programs and sustainability initiatives developed by Stanford University have been very successful throughout the years and established the University as a major player when it comes to solving significant environmental and energy-related challenges.

Today 225 faculty and staff are currently working in energy-related research across the University. An entire center, The Jerry Yang & Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, was in fact created in 2008 to facilitate the sharing of the information gathered and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Finally, Stanford University also realized that long terms sustainability goals means involving the university community beyond their work as students and researchers and for this developed “My Cardinal Green” program.

This initiative offers to anyone part of the Stanford community lifestyle information on how to create a more sustainable campus with small action such riding a bike instead of driving, recycling, turning off unnecessary lights, carpooling, etc.

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