How about some happy news?

The University of Minnesota Morris has achieved carbon neutrality!

This year the University of Minnesota Morris achieved a new milestone in its journey toward complete campus carbon neutrality. The campus is now fully carbon neutral in electricity because of on-site clean energy systems.

Over the past decade UMN Morris has built an on-site, community-scale, clean energy platform. In 2019 Environment America recognized that UMN Morris produced the most on-site electricity per student in the United States. The majority of campus power, about 60%, is generated by two University of Minnesota-owned 1.65 megawatt wind turbines. Additional green electricity is generated by several solar photovoltaic systems and a back-pressure steam-turbine at the biomass gasification plant.

I’ve noticed the solar panels sprouting up around campus, so it’s good to see they’ve made significant progress in making our university a bit more green.


  1. expat says

    As a former student, I haven’t been back to campus in years – time to make a trip to see the improvements!

  2. says

    1.65MW is some serious power. Those two turbines should be enough to power almost 1000 American housholds. I’d be interested to see the setup.

  3. says

    When it cools down, come visit Palm Springs. The eastern end of Banning Pass is populated with roughly a thousand wind turbines. My area (north of PS, near Joshua Tree National Park) is getting more solar panel projects, too. We got tons of sun here, makes perfect sense. Next step is battery farms.

  4. rejiquar works says

    Whereas the uni near me “upgraded” their power plant 2–3 years ago and now makes nearly continuous noise pollution that can be heard half a mile away. In residential neighborhoods.

  5. Kevin Karplus says

    Being “carbon neutral in electricity” is still a long way from being carbon-neutral, especially in the Midwest, where heating and transportation in the winter usually use a lot of fossil fuel.

  6. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Unfortunately, this is probably a lie. It’s probably based on the standard accounting tricks which treat the grid as an infinite capacity battery. In actual fact, the grid is not. The fact of the matter is that the university will frequently run on power generated from other generators, which depends on what’s in the area, whether it’s coal, nuclear, hydro, or whatever.

  7. blf says

    UMM’s (unfortunately undated) page Renewable Energy claims (their emboldending (not mine)):

    On average, about 70% of electricity used on campus daily is generated by renewables. But annually, we produce more electricity than we need.

    Two wind turbines tower above the Pomme de Terre River and may be the first thing you see as you arrive on campus. Some days, the turbines produce more electricity than we need. When this occurs, the excess is sold to the local power provider, reducing the amount of fossil fuels they use to service homes, schools, and businesses.

    According to this 2009 McKinstry PR, McKinstry Helping UMM Reach Carbon Neutral Goal by 2010, part of the plan back then was to purchase carbon offsets. I have no idea if UMM did back then, or are doing so now.

  8. rrutis1 says

    Gerrard @7 I want to engage your comment and I hope I am not starting an angry fight in the comments.

    Ignoring the solar for the moment. I am guessing the output from the wind turbines is probably going straight to the grid upstream of the campus meters and being sold at wholesale electricity prices plus whatever the local utility regulator is incentivizing green power with. If the wind turbines generate 6 million kWhr and the campus uses 10 million kWhr what is wrong with saying 60% of the campus power is from the turbines? I acknowledge that power does come from other (dirtier) sources for the remaining needs (when there is no/low wind and high demand times) but the effort seems to be in the good direction, no?