Goshen College turns to wind and solar-generated electricity
Posted: 05/13/2013 at 2:02 pm
By: Nick Wesman
GCPresident Jim Brenneman announced that the school will be participating in NIPSCO’s new Green Power Program, becoming the first major client of the utilities provider to agree to purchase all of its electricity from sources such as wind and solar generators.
“From today onward, no more coal, gas or oil will be burned, no more carbon dioxide will be introduced into the atmosphere to provide electricity for Goshen College,” Brenneman said.
Brenneman, Utilities Manager and Sustainability Coordinator Glenn Gilbert and NIPSCO Public Affairs Manager Angela Nelson spoke to students and faculty at a forum held in College Mennonite Church, explaining the school’s history in environmental affairs and the next step they are about to take in energy conservation.
Under the Green Power Program, the school buys energy-efficient power from NIPSCO, paying a monthly premium in addition to the standard electric rate.
The college’s payment covers the NIPSCO’s purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs are issued by Green-e Energy, an independent third-party certifier, to ensure that the renewable energy meets environmental and consumer-protection regulations.
Gilbert noted the importance of carbon dioxide to the cycle of life, but, “We’ve cheated the system,” expelling far more into the atmosphere than is necessary or healthy to the planet, he explained.
Through various programs and initiatives, Gilbert said the school has already decreased their carbon footprint by about 36 percent since Brenneman signed the American College and University Presidents’ Commitment in 2007, an agreement noting Goshen College’s intentional attempt to “neutralize greenhouse gas emissions.”
The move to solely purchase electricity from “green” energy sources means the school will reduce their footprint by an additional 45 percent.
Nelson said NIPSCO just recently introduced the Green Power Program in the first quarter of this year.
While available to all NIPSCO customers, the majority of customers utilizing the program have been residential and Goshen College’s decision makes them the first of NIPSCO’s major clients to agree to only use energy-efficient electricity.
To recognize Goshen College’s past and present sustainability efforts, as well as those yet to come, Nelson presented Brenneman and Gilbert a $5,000 grant to be used by the school’s Ecological Stewardship Committee.
Though this is another significant step for the college in their ongoing search for sustainability, Gilbert said there is more work to be done.
“We’re not through conserving,” he said, adding that the college has will remain somewhat reliant on natural gas for heating.
“Caring for the creation is one of the defining challenges of our time,” Brenneman stated.
“It’s a long, historic commitment that we’ve made, not only here at Goshen College, but part of our historic faith tradition as well,” he added after the forum. “Creation care is, I think, one of the defining challenges of our time, and it traces way back to when creation first began. God said it was good and we take that with the utmost seriousness and try to preserve creation so it’s an exciting day for us.”