Ahead of schedule, Vassar commits to solely renewable electricity

The Groveville Hydroelectric facility. Courtesy of Vassar Media Relations.

Vassar has entered an agreement with its energy provider to purchase only electricity generated from renewable sources. According to a press release from Vassar College Media Relations, this agreement with the provider EDF energy will go into effect in July 2021.

Vassar Director of Sustainability Micah Kenfield explained how this will expedite Vassar’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030, as they previously planned to purchase renewable energy by 2022. “Vassar’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 takes a number of forms, and one key component has always been moving to 100-percent renewables,” Kenfield stated. “By taking this action now, we will save more than 2,500 metric tons of carbon emissions per year. That’s almost a 10 percent reduction from our baseline year of 2005[.]”

Purchasing solely renewable electricity, which is produced by wind, sun or water, will be slightly more expensive than energy produced by carbon-generating sources. However, Vassar Director of Purchasing Rosaleen Cardillo and Energy Manager Tom Strumolo managed the contract renewal in such a way that Vassar can take advantage of the state of the utility market to pay less than they currently do.

This decision comes in a series of movements made by the college as part of its $13 million plan to go carbon neutral. Other parts of the plan include changing all lighting to LED, updating the boiler system to use renewable fuel, and updating heating systems in several buildings on campus.

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