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Lincoln Bleveans's picture
Executive Director -- Sustainability & Energy Management Stanford University

Global Energy, Water, and Sustainability Executive | Thought Leader, Speaker, and Writer | Strategy, Planning, Project Development, Operations, M&A, and Transformation | Team Builder...

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  • Sep 22, 2021 9:07 pm GMT
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Stanford continues to walk the walk on sustainability in every aspect of its operations and as a living lab -- and we are just getting started.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 22, 2021

Brilliant, thanks for sharing, Lincoln!

 

I'm wondering what would be the top recommendation that you advise other universities take from your lessons learned here? Further, are you actively collaborating with other schools to share best practices and tackle these types of challenges together? 

Lincoln Bleveans's picture
Lincoln Bleveans on Sep 24, 2021

Great questions and the answers are probably too much to answer here -- would make a great podcast though!  ;)  

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 27, 2021

Noted!

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Sep 23, 2021

Lincoln - thanks for sharing this - I hope your new career is going well!

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Sep 25, 2021

It's great to see Stanford addressing the wide variety of topics that go into sustainability.  

However, given the importance of clean electricity (their main strategy for replacing fossil fuel use on campus is electrification), it is long past time for a frank discussion about the difference between real clean electricity and clean energy credits. 

When we use grid power, we are getting the grid's energy mix along with its sustainability level.  Putting up a few solar panels changes that mix/sustainability by only a tiny bit (while generating clean energy credits).  So regardless of the ratio of clean energy credits to one's own electricity usage, one's sustainability depends on the grid's sustainability.  Generating or buying the clean energy credits are a good way to vote for clean energy (I offset all of my electricity usage with wind energy credits), but it is not the same thing as achieving sustainability.

California's electricity is currently about 40% from fossil fuel (source).  That is better than average for the US, but far from stand-out performance.  They have reduced in-state coal use to near zero, and out-sourced the rest (about 3% of total usage), so that means that electrification is advantageous (re: air pollution and CO2 emissions) for transportation and is roughly at break-even for space heating via heat-pumps.  It is not clean enough for resistance heating (i.e. portable space heaters, the direct-wired baseboard heaters typical of California apartments, and all high temperature applications) to beat direct fossil gas usage however, due to the 40-60% efficiency loss in the power plants.

This is an important discussion to have, particularly since there is a current debate going on as to whether the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant closure should be postponed (rather than immediately replacing it with a dirty mix of fossil fuel and renewables).

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