Stanford University has converted to a state-of-the-art energy system that relies on renewable electricity and provides a new transformational energy supply model for large organizations, utilities and governments.
The university announced a new agreement to provide the majority of its campus electricity from renewable sources within California. A Stanford Solar Generating Station, to be designed and built by SunPower, is expected to provide half of all campus electricity. Combined with planned solar power from installations on campus rooftops and the purchase of further renewable power from the grid, renewable energy will supply 65 percent of all campus electricity. The renewable energy is joined by a first-of-its-kind campus heat recovery system, which began operating March 24 to heat and cool campus buildings.
The combined new system – Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) – makes Stanford one of the most energy-efficient research universities in the world. It far exceeds the aggressive goals of California's AB 32 Global Warming Solutions Act, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
In addition to the deep reduction in reliance on fossil fuels, SESI cuts the university's greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent, which represents 150,000 tons of CO2 annually or the amount produced by 32,000 cars. It will save Stanford $420 million over 35 years (as compared to a cogeneration option) and will reduce total campus water use by about 15 percent.
"SESI achieves a stunning and unprecedented reduction in Stanford's carbon footprint and water usage," said Stanford President John Hennessy. "We believe this system can be a model for others equally concerned about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and willing to make an investment in the future. SESI is a transformational energy system for the 21st century, and we look forward to sharing the technology with others."