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University of North Carolina Tells Utility, Duke Energy, it Wants Clean Energy

by Dan Cannon

August 1, 2013

UNC Letter

After over a year of college students in North Carolina organizing and working with administrators to get their Universities to fight climate change by embracing clean energy, the University of North Carolina (UNC) just responded in a big way.

Click here to read the entire letterUNC sent to Duke Energy.

UNC system President Thomas Ross sent a letter (below) to the utility that sells the UNC system electricity – Duke Energy, the largest electrical utility in the country – expressing his request for clean energy for the whole University of North Carolina system.

The UNC system has a goal to reachcarbon neutrality by 2050. This letteris is a big step forward toward enabling the University system to reach that goal.

UNC system President Ross deserves praise, as do the students across campuses in North Carolina whose hard work and dedication pushed the administration to this point. Students in the North Carolina Student Energy Network understand that global warming is the defining issue of their generation. North Carolina youth will experience some of the worst impacts of a hotter planet, as the states coast alone will be hit harder than ever as global warming increases both coastal storm activity and strength in coming years.

The UNC system letter is only the latest expression of demand for clean energy from Dukes biggest customers. Google, Facebook and Apple, all of whom have data centers in North Carolina, have committed to powering their operations with clean electricity. And hundreds of Dukes residential customers have protested Dukes rate hikes on the basis that they dont want to pay more for dirty energy.

North Carolina students wont stand for Dukes 19th-century dirty energy model, and are quickly realizing the power they have collectively as their tuition helps pay the UNC systems roughly $200 million Duke Energy bill. Thats why the North Carolina Student Energy Network has spent the last year working to get the UNC system to begin conversations with Duke Energy regarding its energy future.

Students expect that this letter will result in some very serious conversations between the UNC system and Duke Energy regarding bringing more clean energy to campuses across the state.

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