The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Two Washington DC Universities Combine For Country's Largest Non-Utility Solar Energy Purchase
Two universities in the nation's capital have made the largest non-utility solar energy purchase in the U.S.
George Washington and American universities on Monday announced their joint Capital Partners Solar Project, a 20-year agreement to reduce the carbon footprints of the two universities and the George Washington University Hospital. At 52 megawatts (MW), it is the largest solar photovoltaic project east of the Mississippi River.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
"We'll be directly sourcing our electricity from three solar energy sites," George Washington University President Steven Knapp told the Associated Press. "We're not just buying certificates for renewable energy. We're actually directly sourcing from renewable energy. The impact of that is pretty huge."
The solar power will fuel more than half of the electricity needs for George Washington and American universities and more than one-third of GWU’s hospital's needs when it is operational in late 2015.
The energy will come from Duke Energy Renewables and avoid about 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide when compared to conventional electricity. The project is enough to power more than 8,000 homes, while its carbon reduction equates to taking 12,500 cars off the road.
Designed by Customer First Renewables, the project is a way for the universities to meet goals within their climate action plans at no additional cost. Solar power generated at panel sites in North Carolina will move through a North Carolina grid, into Washington DC's regional grid.
“American University is firmly on its way to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020,” AU President Neil Kerwin said. “We are home to the largest combined solar array in the District, are resolved to growing green power through our purchase of renewable energy certificates and are now a partner to the largest non-utility solar energy purchase in the United States.”
In 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized American University as one of four universities across the country helping to advance the development of the country’s voluntary green power market through purchase of renewable energy certificates. The college has 10 green roofs and is also one of three universities in the world using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Volume certification program. New buildings there are LEED Gold certified, and 25 existing buildings are also tracked for LEED.
George Washington University was the first in D.C. to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, agreeing to reduce its total carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2025. The university also has four green roofs, eight LEED-certified buildings, with six more targeting certification.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?
For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.
By Mara Dolan
We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.