Off-site Renewable Energy
Oregon Community Solar Program Purchases
In early 2023, OSU began purchasing renewable energy from off-site solar developments through the Oregon Community Solar Program (OCSP). The OCSP supports solar growth in Oregon while offering a cost savings to electrical purchasers like OSU. In the first set of subscribed meters, OSU is projected to save around $73,500 over 20 years. We expect to subscribe more - and larger - meters later in 2023. Unlike carbon offsets or renewable energy certificates, OCSP subscribers directly purchase production from specific local projects during a 20 year contract period.
Renewable Energy Certificate Purchases
For several years, OSU purchased large amounts of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset its electricity use. A student fee of $8.50/student/term, approved April 27, 2007 during the ASOSU general election, supplied funding for this purchase between 2007 and 2010, and in 2011 OSU administration made the purchase as students elected to spend their fee money for on-site projects. Since 2012, OSU has made much smaller investments in offsite renewable energy, choosing instead to focus on development of on-site renewable resources.
Following a 2006-2007 campaign led by ASOSU Environmental Affairs, the student population approved the fee with 70% of voting students voting in favor. The campaign consisted of a fall 2006 survey revealing that 68% of students supported a fee, followed by a winter term petition collecting signatures to include a renewable energy question on the spring general election ballot. Over 1,700 students signed the petition in just a few days.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has recognized OSU multiple times for outstanding leadership in renewable energy use. In October 2008, Andrea Norris who, as a student, led the campaign for the renewable energy fee and now works at OSU's Basic Need Center, accepted on OSU's behalf a Green Power Leadership Award in Denver, Colorado.
In 2011, OSU purchased enough renewable energy to meet nearly 100% of its electricity needs and was the 5th largest college or university purchaser of renewable energy in the nation. It was also designated the PAC-12 Conference Champion in renewable energy purchases and a member of the Green Power Leadership Club. The source of OSU's renewable energy is wind power. All OSU RECs are Green-e certified. For 2012, OSU made a smaller purchase offsetting about 10% of total electricity use and continues to make small purchases most years.