Episode 14: Solar carport and Energy Transition at Michigan State University

  Wolfgang Bauer (left); Gary Farha (right);   Solar Carport Installation  at MSU (bottom)

Wolfgang Bauer (left); Gary Farha (right);
Solar Carport Installation at MSU (bottom)

Guests:
Wolfgang Bauer
University Distinguished Professor and Associate Vice President for Administrative Services
Michigan State University

Gary Farha
Founder, President and CEO
CustomerFirst Renewables

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

The focus of this episode is a large, on-site solar carport installation that recently came online on MSU’s campus. At the time it came online, this was the largest carport solar installation in the United States.  As background, Wolfgang shares the rich history of the MSU energy system dating back to the 19th century. We discuss the role of MSU’s Energy Transition Plan as a catalyst for this project. This plan lays out aggressive goals for the use of renewable energy and the reduction of GHG emissions.  We talk through the decision-making process that led up to this project and end by discussing possible next steps in MSU’s energy transition.

Resources:

Episode 13: The Challenges and Opportunities of Aggressive Climate Action

  The panel at CHESC 2018 (  Left to right)  Tyler Durchslag-Richardson, Fletcher Alexander, Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Eric Eberhardt, Dave Karlsgodt

The panel at CHESC 2018 (Left to right) Tyler Durchslag-Richardson, Fletcher Alexander, Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Eric Eberhardt, Dave Karlsgodt

Guests:
Eric Eberhardt
Director of Energy Services
Energy & Facilities Management Services
University of California, Office of the President
Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Director, Sustainability, University Operations
Director, Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
Fletcher Alexander
Sustainability Programs Manager, Institute for Sustainable Development
California State University, Chico
Tyler Durchslag-Richardson
Senior Analyst, Facilities Services and Integrated Planning
California Institute of Technology
Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

This episode was recorded live on July 10th at the 2018 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) which took place on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dave Karlsgodt moderated the session: “The Challenges and Opportunities of Aggressive Climate Action.” Panelists from a cross-section of California institutions answered questions about their climate action efforts.  You’ll hear both success stories from these leading institutions, but also some honest discussion on where they have more work to do. Topics include the nature of their climate action strategies, making the business case for sustainable practices, the dual role of higher ed. to lead and to educate, carbon neutrality, 100% renewable energy and more.  Audience members bring up some challenging questions including how to consider equity, social justice, and the stratification of resources to address these challenges.  The discussion includes a combination of inspiring success stories and honest self-reflection from sustainability professionals working in the trenches.

Resources:

Episode 11: Putting a Price on Carbon - Nathan Graf, Swarthmore College

  Nathan Graf  Climate Action Senior Fellow, Swarthmore College

Nathan Graf
Climate Action Senior Fellow, Swarthmore College

Guest: Nathan Graf
Climate Action Senior Fellow, Swarthmore College

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

My guest in this episode is Nathan Graf from Swarthmore College, a small liberal arts college located just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Nathan and I discussed Swarthmore’s carbon charge program. Nathan explains the origin of their policy, the nuts-and-bolts of how the charge is calculated, and how the funds from the program are used. We go on to discuss how putting a price on carbon has impacted students, faculty and staff as well as the reputation of Swarthmore as a leader in sustainability.  We explore Swarthmore’s use of a shadow price on carbon when evaluating larger capital projects and the challenges of calculating a specific cost for impacts of carbon emissions on society at large.  Nathan explains how Swarthmore’s program compares to alternative approaches used by other institutions that are also working to put a price on carbon emissions.

Resources:

  • Swarthmore's Carbon Charge Program:
    https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/swarthmore-carbon-charge-program
  • For questions email sustainability@swarthmore.edu