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The University of Michigan will soon buy about half of its purchased electricity from Michigan-sourced renewable energy producers, the U-M Office of Sustainability announced Tuesday. This decision follows the opening of three new wind-energy parks in central Michigan.
In 2019, the University committed to a power-purchase agreement with DTE Energy. The goal of the partnership, according to the University Record, is to reduce U-M greenhouse gas emissions yearly by over 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The energy parks opened in April in Isabella County, and have a combined 157 turbines with a capacity of 455 megawatts. This increases DTE’s total reliance on renewable energy to about 1,760 megawatts, with the ability to power 670,000 Michigan homes.
University President Mark Schlissel expressed excitement in a statement to the Record about what he deemed a more sustainable future for Ann Arbor and the University.
“I am very pleased that, as a result of these wind farms, the Ann Arbor campus will transition its purchased power away from carbon-intensive sources and toward local, renewable clean power,” Schlissel said. “This progress aligns with many of the recommendations recently put forward by the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, and I look forward to taking additional steps to reduce the University’s greenhouse gas emissions in an innovative, scalable and financially responsible way.”
In 2011, the University’s Ann Arbor campus set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus 25% by the year 2025. Due to the steps taken to use local and renewable power, the University is on track to achieve this goal by the end of this year.
The PCCN released its final recommendations to Schlissel in March 2021. The final report outlines scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions which constitute direct emissions, off campus emissions and indirectly attributable emissions, respectively. The commission aimed to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions by achieving carbon neutrality on scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 2025, and neutrality on scope 3 emissions by 2040. The commission looked for ways to effectively reduce emissions across all three scopes to improve the University’s climate impact.