Occidental College: Leading the Way in Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy
Occidental College is a private liberal arts college located in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1887, the college has a long-standing commitment to social justice, sustainability, and global citizenship. Today, Occidental College is recognized as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States, with a diverse student body of approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
As a leading institution in higher education, Occidental College is committed to decarbonisation and renewable energy. The college has set ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint and transition to 100% renewable energy sources. In 2018, Occidental College signed the Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitment, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
To achieve this goal, Occidental College has implemented a range of strategies to reduce its carbon emissions and increase its use of renewable energy. One of the key strategies is the adoption of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy. Corporate PPAs allow companies to purchase renewable energy directly from a specific project, such as a wind or solar farm, at a fixed price over a long-term contract. This approach provides a stable and predictable source of renewable energy, while also supporting the development of new renewable energy projects.
In 2019, Occidental College signed a 25-year PPA with a solar project in Texas, which will provide the college with 32% of its electricity needs. The PPA is expected to save the college over $55 million in electricity costs over the life of the contract, while also reducing its carbon emissions by over 25,000 metric tons per year.
In addition to corporate PPAs, Occidental College has also invested in on-site renewable energy projects, such as solar panels and a micro-hydroelectric generator. These projects not only provide renewable energy to the college, but also serve as educational tools for students to learn about renewable energy and sustainability.
Occidental College has also implemented a range of energy efficiency measures to reduce its energy consumption and carbon emissions. These measures include upgrading lighting and HVAC systems, installing energy-efficient windows, and implementing a campus-wide energy management system. These efforts have resulted in a 30% reduction in the college's energy consumption since 2008.
Beyond its own operations, Occidental College is also committed to promoting sustainability and renewable energy in the broader community. The college has partnered with local organizations to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, and has hosted community events to raise awareness about sustainability issues.
Overall, Occidental College is a leader in decarbonisation and renewable energy, demonstrating the important role that higher education institutions can play in addressing climate change. By adopting innovative strategies such as corporate PPAs and on-site renewable energy projects, and by promoting sustainability in the broader community, Occidental College is helping to create a more sustainable and just future for all.