UNH Contributions Key to Success of State Energy and Climate Collaborative
By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
June 23, 2010
UNH is at the forefront of contributions to the N.H. Energy and Climate Collaborative, a statewide effort charged a year ago with tracking and facilitating implementation of the state’s Climate Action Plan. The collaborative recently highlighted its accomplishments of the year, including a focus on the Green Launching Pad, a partnership between the state and the university that will provide intensive support to New Hampshire companies working to bring clean new energy products to market.
“UNH is implementing New Hampshire’s Climate Action Plan on several fronts,” said Cameron Wake, director of Carbon Solutions New England and one of the authors of the Climate Action Plan. “This includes the ongoing implementation of a detailed climate action plan specifically for the university – WildCAP -- that will reduce the emission of heat trapping gases 50 percent by 2020, and achieve an 80 percent reduction by 2050.”
In addition to the Green Launching Pad, the UNH transit system is one of the largest public transit providers in the state and the fleet is run primarily on two alternative fuels: ultra-low sulfur B20 (20 percent biodiesel) and compressed natural gas (CNG). The university is also host to Carbon Solutions New England, a public-private partnership that promotes collective action to achieve a clean, secure energy future, and last year became the first campus in the country to use landfill gas as its primary fuel source. In addition, UNH sells the renewable energy certificates (RECs) associated with EcoLine™ electricity generation to help finance the capital costs of the project and to invest in additional energy efficiency projects on campus.
“The collaborative is a great way to provide a comprehensive picture of the many efforts underway around the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research at UNH and the university’s representative on the collaborative. “It allows us to track the progress being made and to bring together partnerships like the Green Launching Pad.”
Gov. John Lynch established the Climate Change Policy Task Force for the state of New Hampshire in 2007 and charged the group to develop a plan for achieving the greatest feasible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while also providing the greatest possible long-term economic benefit to the citizens of New Hampshire. Following 18 months of intensive efforts, the 29-member Climate Change Policy Task Force, with the help and participation of more than 125 stakeholders and input from over 200 citizens, released the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan in March 2009.
The plan included 67 recommendations for addressing the state’s energy needs while also strengthening the economy and reducing the threats of climate change. The collaborative was formed to track and facilitate implementation of the statewide plan and is recognizing the following achievements over the last year:
- Auctions of allowances for emissions of carbon dioxide from electric power plants conducted under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative raised $24 million for energy efficiency projects in New Hampshire between September 2008 and June 2010, which in the first round of grants resulted in:
- More than 30 energy efficiency training opportunities;
- More than 709 people trained in energy efficiency;
- 500 efficiency projects complete or underway; and
- More than 185 buildings received energy audits or benchmarking information.
- In fiscal year 2010, the Renewable Energy Fund disbursed $1.34 million to 237 homeowners for distributed electric generation facilities such as solar photovoltaics and wind turbines.
- The Green Launching Pad, administered by UNH, was established to provide a mechanism for start-up green companies to obtain some funding through a competitive technology program.
- Through the Municipal Energy Assistance Program, 47 New Hampshire towns are measuring and beginning to manage energy use and become project-ready.
- Retail Merchants Association of NH, through its Energy Efficiency Program, met its year one goal of enrolling 25 businesses into its energy retrofit demonstration project within nine months.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was created to stimulate the economy and these grants will inject a total of more than $70 million dollars into New Hampshire’s economy for energy related projects.
To learn more about the annual progress review and how to get involved in implementation efforts, visit http://nhcollaborative.org/APR.shtml.
UNH is a leader in conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and integrating sustainability throughout its curricula, operations, research, and engagement efforts. Committed to being a climate protection campus that pursues a sustainable energy future through emissions reduction policies, practices, research, and education, UNH has earned several awards for its sustainability initiatives, which range from an undergraduate dual major in EcoGastronomy and organic dairy research to having the largest transit system in the state and being the first in the nation to receive an EPA Energy Star building rating for residence halls. Discover the sustainable learning community at UNH at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu and discoversustainability.org.