University of California, San Diego officials announced today that the campus will be increasing its reliance on renewable energy sources during the next two years.

UCSD, which currently gets a tiny sliver of its energy from renewable sources, aims to boost its renewable generation to provide 10 to 15 percent of the campus’s energy needs.

Currently, UCSD gets 85 percent of its electricity from an on-campus natural-gas-fired power plant. It imports the rest from an Arizona utility. Gary Matthews, UCSD’s vice chancellor for resource management and planning, said the university plans to replace the imported power with green energy.

By December, the campus will have installed a megawatt of solar panels on 26 rooftops. The school wants to add a second megawatt of solar panels, Matthews said, a goal that will depend on how much room it has on its rooftops. A megawatt is enough energy to power about 650 homes.

The school also has plans to use methane gas captured at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant to power fuel cells that could provide an additional two megawatts of power. While a renewable source, it would not be carbon-free. Two truckloads of methane would be driven from Point Loma to La Jolla each day, Matthews said.

UCSD is also in negotiations to obtain electricity from wind farms in California. The school wants to acquire electricity from farms — such as from the windmills in Campo — that isn’t currently used. Matthews said the school would have a better idea within the next year whether that would be a feasible energy source.


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