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UC earns EPA Green Power Leadership Award for clean energy transition

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the University of California with a 2021 Green Power Leadership Award on Tuesday for its efforts to accelerate the transition to clean energy.

The EPA’s criteria for the award include the amount of green power an organization uses in relation to its size, the organization’s green power innovations and the potential for the organization’s green energy practices to be adopted by other organizations. Green power is electricity produced by renewable resources such as wind and solar.

The UC announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, which commits the University to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from University buildings and vehicle fleets to net-zero by 2025.

The UC previously won the Green Power Leadership Award in 2018 for its work toward powering every campus with renewable energy and expanding the market for green power. The University also placed first on the Green Power Partnership ranking of higher education institutions for 2020. The Green Power Partnership encourages colleges and universities to use more green power on their campuses in order to transition into a pollution-free electricity sector.

[Related link: UC system maintains first-place ranking nationally in green power use]

As of 2021, the UC uses nearly 481 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, which is about 46 percent of its total power purchases, according to a University of California Office of the President press release.

UC President Michael V. Drake has prioritized addressing climate change and is glad to be recognized by the EPA for the University’s green power use, UCOP spokesperson Stett Holbrook said in an emailed statement.

Jane Ni, the Undergraduate Students Association Council Facilities commissioner and chair of The Green Initiative Fund, said in an emailed statement that she thinks the office of sustainability prioritizes implementing sustainability initiatives and policies but the university should do more to support sustainability-oriented organizations on campus.

“(The) administration can be hesitant to take student voices seriously,” Ni said. “Administrators need to take a more active stance in supporting students by … including them in high-level conversations.”

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