Edited August 2023.
The benefits of the Berkeley Clean Energy Campus can extend far beyond campus: the initiative will serve as a model, demonstrating the transition to a clean energy system on the scale of a medium-sized city. Thus, Berkeley’s initiative will be a valuable resource for others seeking to rapidly decarbonize. The initiative also intends to create a repository of clean energy knowledge and best practices. The project will demonstrate how rapid, large-scale impacts on greenhouse gasses are possible. The time that remains to address the exponential impacts of climate change is limited.
Benefits to Berkeley Campus
The campus’s Integrated Resource and Activation Plan (IRAP) envisions that the transformation to a clean electrified campus energy system could be undertaken in two phases. Phases one and two together would reduce overall campus carbon emissions an astonishing 85% by 2030. This reduction would take the campus’s carbon emissions to levels lower than the emissions limits set by the State of California. The state’s environmental regulations were established to ameliorate the harmful effects of climate change.
Additionally, the Berkeley Clean Energy Campus initiative will benefit campus in some of the following ways:
The new electrified plant will reduce operational and maintenance costs relative to the old natural gas cogeneration plant.
Critical safety features and some sensitive research will be less vulnerable to power outages given campus-created auxiliary green energy production.
Heating and cooling in offices, labs, and classrooms should be more consistent.
Research opportunities on campus and with government/industry collaborators will expand. The Clean Energy Campus presents a unique opportunity to advance knowledge in renewable energy, project finance, and data science through engagement in the system’s design and operations.
The benefits of Berkeley Clean Energy Campus can extend far beyond campus.
Berkeley Clean Energy Campus will generate hundreds of regional construction jobs at the prevailing wage. The project will also facilitate training programs and apprenticeships for those who are interested in transitioning from traditional infrastructure and building-related trades to segue into the skilled green-energy jobs of tomorrow. In so doing, the region will provide a contemporary workforce that is prepared to lead with clean energy knowledge and know-how.
Through embracing and implementing green technologies, the campus is ready to demonstrate to the world that meaningful, large-scale solutions to climate change are doable when a community is committed to the task. Berkeley Clean Energy Campus will create a living laboratory and function as a proof of concept site.
From there, Berkeley Clean Energy Campus project plans and financing strategies will be scalable, reproducible, and shared in the spirit of knowledge exchange. Disseminating research results and other acquired knowledge for the greater good is part of Berkeley’s mission as a public university.