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University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus

University of Michigan reaches agreement to buy renewable energy

Officials say the university's commitment to buy about 200,000 megawatts of energy per year from local utility will help it reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The University of Michigan says it is on track to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions significantly because of an agreement to buy renewable energy.

The arrangement will result in about half of the purchased electricity for the Ann Arbor campus coming from Michigan-sourced renewable resources.

The university says it has committed to buy about 200,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy annually through DTE Energy beginning in 2021.

“Reducing the greenhouse gas footprint of electricity that U-M purchases was a key recommendation made by members of our campus community,” says University President Mark Schlissel. “This agreement will help us achieve our existing GHG reduction goal, and is an important step on our university's road to carbon neutrality.”

Combined with other emission reduction efforts, the renewable-energy agreement will enable Michigan to achieve its 2025 goal of reducing GHG emissions 25 percent below 2006 levels.

DTE plans to build or acquire additional renewable-energy projects and expand MIGreenPower to meet increasing customer demand. As the state’s largest producer of renewable energy, DTE will more than double its renewable energy generation by 2024, investing an additional $2 billion.

The company also is in the process of expanding its MIGreenPower program, a voluntary renewable energy program that enables residential and commercial customers to attribute up to 100 percent of their energy use to Michigan-made wind and solar projects.

The university's renewable-energy purchase will remove nearly 141,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—the equivalent of taking more than 30,000 cars off the road for a year, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculation.

The majority of U-M’s emissions now come from natural gas, for which there is no readily available substitute at the scale needed to support the mission of the university.

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