AUSTIN- Southwestern University in Georgetown and the University of North Texas in Denton lead Texas colleges in use of renewable energy, according to an analysis released today by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. Both universities are powered 100% by wind and solar energy from their municipal utilities, Georgetown Utility Systems and Denton Municipal Electric. Fifteen more Texas colleges report at least some use of renewable energy, including from on-campus solar installations and power purchase agreements for utility-scale wind or solar energy. Environment Texas Research and Policy Center today also released Renewable Energy 101: Ten Tools forMoving your Campus to 100% Clean Energy, a series of factsheets highlighting 10 key tools to help Texas universities with building a 100 percent clean, renewable energy system.
“Colleges and universities across Texas are situated to lead the charge in the transition to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “Pirates (Southwestern) and Eagles (UNT) are already doing it and Longhorns, Aggies and others should join them in shifting to clean energy and eliminating pollution from energy use. We hope that the ten point plan laid out in these fact sheets can help.”
The top ten colleges for percentage of renewable energy use also included Austin College at 84%, Tarrant County College District at 70%, UT Arlington at 16%, Alamo Colleges' St. Philip's College SW Campus at 11%, Rice University at 7% and University of Houston at 5%. In Austin, St Edwards University reports using 2.4%, while UT Austin reports using less than 1% of its power from renewable energy. After Southwestern University went 100%, its local utility in Georgetown followed suit and the entire city is now powered exclusively by wind and solar energy.
According to a recent report by Environment America, colleges and universities serve more than 20 million students and spend more than $15 billion per year on energy - so bold commitments to clean energy can drive big investments in solutions. At the same time, as influential institutions, actions taken by higher education institutions can set an example in hundreds of communities across America; while training the scientists, engineers, policymakers and civic leaders we need to move the nation toward sustainability.
Clean energy and energy efficient technologies are growing fast and getting cheaper, making them more accessible. In the past 10 years, the United States has seen a 43-fold increase in solar power and a seven-fold increase in wind power, while the average American now uses 10 percent less energy.
The Environment Texas Research and Policy Center analysis is based upon data obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership Program and direct conversations with Texas universities.