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Clemson Needs a Clean Energy Future

posted Oct 1, 2017, 7:06 PM by Ocdp Web   [ updated Oct 1, 2017, 7:06 PM ]

Posted October 1, 2017, The Greenville News

It is heartbreaking to watch Clemson University commit itself and the surrounding Clem­son area to another 35 years of using fossil fuels. By allowing Duke Energy to build a natural gas power plant in the middle of campus, it is also committing to the use of old technology that is being replaced worldwide with renewable resources such as solar and wind. 

In addition, building a new natural gas plant signals the university's willingness to accept the hazards inherent in Amer­ican fracking operations and the leakage of methane from the pipelines that will transport the natural gas along hundreds of miles to Clemson University. It is widely known that these me­thane leaks are 86 percent stronger than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere, thus contributing to warming of our planet. Also it is accepted sci­ence that the sulfur, mercury, and particulates that produce nitrogen oxides are grave health concerns linked to asthma, bron­chitis, lung cancer and heart disease. 

In contrast, were Duke Ener­gy encouraged to install their proposed solar farm, it signals a very different future for Clem­son University: one that em­braces change toward clean energy sources and the applica­tion of the incredible research on this subject being conducted by their own faculty and students. There are plenty of places on campus for installing, solar in­cluding rooftops, parking lots and agricultural land. More im­portantly a 50-megawatt solar installation would make Clemson University's 2030 "carbon neu­tral" goal achievable almost overnight. 

Let's all embrace the idea that Clemson University and the City of Clemson can together become "The Greenest College Town in America " Let's join the trend being embraced by other col­leges and towns across America:  Think green, think healthy fu­ture, think moving forward into a clean energy future for our area and for our kids. 

Ellie Taylor