Written by Sophie Fitzgerald, ESLLC 2016-2017

As a renewable energy enthusiast, I got very excited when Chad King told me and others that DU would be contracting with NREL this summer to develop a comprehensive plan involving photovoltaic options.  This resulted in part from a push within the department of facilities and the Center for Sustainability, who are emphatically seeking to decrease DU’s Scope 2 emissions in an effort to reach the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  Scope 2 consists of emissions from utility, i.e. electricity, and accounted for 53% of DU’s overall emissions in the 2016 FY (credit: Facilities Management and Planning report).

To contextualize the reason for the push and its recent ability to become a reality, in January the Board of Trustees dedicated $5 million to sustainability on campus the lieu of divestment (despite it already technically being conserved money from energy saving projects).  According to a new extensive Green Fund policy draft written by Chad King, James Rosner, and other contributors (specifically created to outline the use of this money and the future of sustainability on this campus), a majority of the money will go towards large projects that significantly impact emission reductions within Scope 2.

Then comes the NREL partnership!  In a one-page outline that paralleled the release of the Green Fund draft, NREL listed both what they would do for DU and the conditions that need to met on our part before the investigation into solar could begin.  The entire timeline is structured to happen between the months of June, July, and August of 2017.  Within the document, NREL stated they would research and compile a comprehensive portfolio of possible “owned systems, contracted systems, and participation in third-party owned systems” for PV options.  Additionally, NREL will also assist DU in drafting both PPAs (power purchasing agreements) and a RFP (request for proposal) once a course of action has been planned.

I believe this is a significant promise to the advancement of sustainability on campus.  With this partnership comes the implementation of a new major energy project that will actually contribute to reducing the DU’s impact on the environment.  This partnership, in conjunction with the new policy Chad/James and friends are working tireless to implement, will hopefully make major, tangible strides for sustainability on campus.

To end the blog posts for the year I must include an official review of Brianna’s chili that John spoke so highly of.  It was, indeed, dank.  Refer back to his final blog post for the initial account.




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