By Mike Bendewald
Colleges and universities across the country are increasingly interested in purchasing renewable power. With falling technology prices and growing student interest, renewable power is fast emerging as a discussion topic among sustainability, facilities, energy, and finance officers. This is the case especially in Texas, where abundant solar and wind resources make the generation cheaper than elsewhere. To advance the discussion further, recently a group of colleges and universities gathered for a workshop at the LeCroy Center of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).
The Texas Higher Education Renewable Energy Consortium—consisting of DCCCD, Texas A&M, Alamo Colleges, and University of North Texas—hosted the workshop for Dallas area institutions to understand resources that are currently available and to advance their understanding of the economics and contracting options. The workshop, which was run by Texas Energy Aggregation (TEA) through a contract with the Comptroller's Statewide Procurement Division, offered a compelling case for renewables:
“The consortium was first created in 2017 during a higher education sustainability conference, because we each had an interest in renewable energy but really had no clear path to move forward,” DCCCD Executive Administrator of Sustainability, Georgeann Moss explained, “so we formed the consortium and began working with TEA.” The workshop is the first of a series of webinars and workshops planned to educate colleges and universities. A recording of the first workshop is available from DCCCD. Moving forward, the consortium will be a committee under the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS), which has a mission to advance sustainability in Texas higher education.
TEA is the sole-selected provider of electricity sourcing services under the the Texas SmartBuy Contract 961-M2 awarded by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Statewide Procurement Division. Current TEA staff and advisors have extensive backgrounds in renewable energy procurement, including the creation of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.
TEA is available to help your institution navigate renewable energy procurement.