Higher Education and Energy Independence

As campus activism continues to heighten awareness of climate change, more universities are making efforts to reduce their environmental footprint. Recently, four schools in the University of Wisconsin System announced a plan to achieve energy independence within five years. Under a pilot program, UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, and UW-Stevens Point will become the first Wisconsin-owned facilities capable of acquiring or producing renewable energy equivalent to their consumption. The campuses will rely on a variety of potential renewable energy sources including: solar, wind, fuel cells, renewable fuels, and biomass. The schools will also implement strategies to reduce overall energy consumption. According to estimates, the achievement of energy independence at the four campuses would save 260,000 tons of coal over a decade.