Large Scale Renewable Energy Study
The Large-Scale Renewable Energy Study was conducted with input from the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Study Advisory Committee, a mix of diverse stakeholders on campus. A competitive process was used to identify an expert partner that worked with the university and advisory committee to determine the best future renewable energy strategy for Vanderbilt by evaluating the viability of potential options on the basis of key criteria that include financial, social and environmental benefits and risk mitigation. The advisory committee kicked off in September 2017.
Vanderbilt University entered into an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service to procure off-site large-scale renewable energy to help mitigate the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions. The 20-year agreement will support Vanderbilt’s goal to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and become carbon neutral by the year 2050.
Vanderbilt’s initial partnership, announced in January 2020, will mitigate approximately 70 percent of the university’s indirect greenhouse gas emissions by fall 2022. The second Green Invest project will supply enough renewable energy to offset the remaining 30 percent of the university’s annual indirect greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity by fall 2023.
The agreement is also anticipated to provide hundreds of new jobs during the construction of the solar project as well as unique educational and research opportunities for the Vanderbilt community with both solar farm locations within close proximity to the Nashville area.
The renewable power will come from two solar farms to be built in Bedford Country and Tullahoma, Tennessee, by Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corporation, the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the largest independent solar power producers in the country. Upon successful completion of all requirements, Silicon Ranch will begin construction and target fall 2022/2023 for the facilities to be operational.
Vanderbilt is the first customer to partner with a local power company on this type of agreement in the seven-state TVA region. It is also the first agreement finalized under the TVA’s new Green Invest program.
Advisory Committee Membership
Jennifer Bischoff, director of finance;
Paul Chinski, undergraduate student, SPEAR representative;
Jim Clarke, Chair of Environmental Advisory Committee, professor of civil and environmental engineering;
Ryan Connor, undergraduate student, VSG representative;
Fernanda Contreras, undergraduate student;
Andrea George, director, Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO);
Jonathan Gilligan, associate professor, earth and environmental sciences;
Thushara Gunda, postdoctoral researcher CEE (through Nov 2017);
George Hornberger, civil and environmental engineering (CEE);
Debbie Janke (project manager), assistant vice chancellor for facilities strategic initiatives;
Ed Kinney, sourcing officer, procurement;
Mitch Lampley, director, facilities engineering and tech support;
Keith Loiseau, university architect, director of campus planning and construction;
Chris Lowe, attorney, Office of General Counsel;
Geoff MacDonald, head women’s tennis coach;
Mike Perez, chief facilities officer;
Mark Petty, assistant vice chancellor for plant operations;
Amy Shaw, postdoctoral candidate environmental engineering (starting Nov 2017);
Michael Vandenbergh, professor of law, Climate Change Research Network Director.
Ian Faucher, undergraduate student;
Chelsea Hamilton, outreach coordinator, SEMO.