The University of California is committing to using only clean and renewable energy at all of its 10 campuses and five medical centers by 2025, university officials announced Tuesday.
This is described by UC officials as a major expansion of its existing Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and fitting within its efforts to be a leader in climate change response.
Among UC’s new specific energy-related goals are to use 2 percent less energy each year on its campuses and other properties; to have UC’s own power company supply 100 percent clean energy to participating campuses by the end of this year; require that any new UC structures built or major renovations after June 2019 will not burn fossil fuels onsite for heating; to make more environmentally sustainable products and services available; and to have each UC campus cut landfill-bound waste by 25 percent before 2025 and by 50 percent before 2030.
David Phillips, UC’s associate vice president of energy and sustainability, said in a statement:
“These ambitious new targets, which align with those of our student environmental leaders, will ensure that our electricity comes from clean sources, extending UC leadership in modeling sustainability solutions.”
Those student environmental leaders include members of the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), a consumer group whose primary causes include environmentally sustainable and clean energy. The group mobilized thousands of students and dozens of faculty members at UC campuses statewide to campaign for clean energy.
Sophie Haddad, chairperson of CALPIRG Students and a UC San Diego student, said:
“Our generation will experience increasingly severe impacts of climate change; that’s why so many students signed on to our campaign and are supporting UC’s landmark commitment.”
Chief among the UC system’s clean energy sources is the UC-operated Five Points Solar Park near Fresno, a 60-megawatt solar power installation built to supply electricity to the UC system. Opened in August 2016, it is the largest solar power installation operated by an American university.