A major solar acquisition over the summer, along with a new Board of Trustees strategic task force will help Duke continue on its path to carbon neutrality.
With Duke’s climate plan including extensive carbon offsets—projects meant to “cancel out” emissions being produced on campus—in addition to directly lowering emissions, the University partnered with a renewable energy company on a major solar project.
Over the summer, Duke purchased 101 megawatts of solar energy capacity from three solar facilities managed by North Carolina-based Pine Gate Renewables. Combined with existing plans, Duke hopes that the solar farms—which will be completed by 2022—will generate about half of Duke’s annual electricity and decrease the University’s carbon emissions by more than 70% by 2024.
The solar projects will not be on campus, according to Duke. Building them elsewhere will let the University build enough solar infrastructure to produce 20 times more power than it could on campus under current regulations.
“The solar power purchase was always in the books and an essential part of the plan, we’ve just finally made some progress on that, which is nice to hear given North Carolina’s restrictions on third-party energy purchases,” said Cameron Oglesby, president of the Duke Undergraduate Environmental Union.