Massachusetts Universities and Colleges Commit to Renewable Energy

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles last week congratulated 41 Massachusetts campuses – including all 29 public colleges and universities — for joining a national campaign to make college campuses climate neutral by embracing clean energy technologies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Of the more than 400 campuses in 47 states that have signed onto the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment since it was launched earlier this year, 10 percent are Massachusetts institutions of higher education. The only other state that approaches Massachusetts’s allegiance to the campaign is California—also with 41 campuses signed on, but with a population six times larger than Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts campuses have clearly stepped up to the plate in a big way,” Secretary Bowles said. “Several schools have significant expansion plans on the table. That makes their pledge to pursue clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions especially significant.”   

By signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, presidents and chancellors pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from their campuses within a “reasonable period of time.”

Clean energy programs already under way on Massachusetts’s public campuses include:

  • At Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a 660 kilowatt (KW) wind turbine that provides, on average, over 28 percent of campus electricity needs—plus a solar photovoltaic system on one Academy dorm, campus-wide energy efficiency measures, and a program to explore use of biodiesel for campus vehicles;
  • At Mt. Wachusett Community College, a wood chip-fired biomass plant that supplies all heat for the entire campus, plans to install a 100-KW solar array, and a feasibility study for a large wind turbine (the campus has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 20 percent over the past five years);
  • At UMass-Amherst, work on installing a state-of-the-art co-generation natural gas power plant that will eliminate a university-owned coal plant which, alone, is responsible for 5 percent of state government greenhouse gas emissions;
  • At MassArt and Holyoke Community College, installation of green roofs;
  • At Cape Cod Community College, opening of state government’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building, which includes a 27- kW solar array, and soliciting bids for the second state-owned wind turbine.
At five state colleges—including Salem State, Mt. Wachusett Community, Worcester State College, Springfield Technical Community and North Shore Community, plans to install over 400 KW of solar photovoltaics within the next several months. 
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