In addition to tracking ambitious commitments of local governments and communities, 100% Renewables has been tracking carbon and renewable energy commitments made by Australia’s public tertiary education sector since 2017.
Our first University-related blog post published actions and commitments of several universities that demonstrated sustainable energy leadership. We highlighted examples of leading clean energy and low carbon research, divestments from fossil fuels, and examples of universities’ targets and actions to reduce their carbon footprint.
In 2020, we published a blog post series on a number of sustainability leadership topics that are relevant to the tertiary education sector:
- Commitments, actions and achievements of 14 leading universities across Australia
- Universities with Green Star certified buildings
- Universities that are signatories to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Universities with fossil fuel divestment commitments
This blog post revisits ambitious climate action commitments made by universities and provides an updated list. Since our 2020 blog post series, nine more universities have committed to ambitious goals, and several others have increased their climate ambition. A total of 23 out of 40 universities have now committed to ambitious climate action targets.
Below are some examples:
- Australian Catholic University – ACU previously had a target of a further 7% increase in its energy efficiency by 2020 but is now committed to 100% renewable electricity by July 2021. ACU’s purchase of 100% renewable electricity and their commitment to offsetting air travel emissions will reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%, bringing ACU closer to its target of net zero emissions by 2030.
- Western Sydney University – the University has a history of implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives across campuses but has now committed to 100% renewable energy by 2025 and a net-zero GHG emissions target by 2030.
- Macquarie University – the University previously committed to making buildings more energy-efficient and delivering all energy with renewable energy, but has now completed a switch to 100% renewables for its North Ryde Campus as of 1 July 2020.
- University of Sydney – the University previously committed to having solar-passive building design and a vision to achieve a carbon reduction across its investment portfolio. Now, they have committed to 100% renewables by 2025 and net zero emissions by 2030.
- Charles Sturt University – the University is already carbon neutral, and had previously committed to onsite generation of renewable energy at all campuses but is now committed to 100% clean energy by 2030.
- Griffith University – the University previously committed to carbon emissions reduction of at least 26% from 2010/11 levels by 2030 but has now committed to 45-50% emissions reduction against a 2010 baseline by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
Out of the 23 universities in the ambitious commitments list, 11 have committed to 100% renewable energy on or before 2030, 11 have committed to carbon neutrality on or before 2030, and 7 have committed to net-zero GHG emissions targets on or before 2050.
Top 23 universities’ 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality/net-zero commitments
Below is a list of 23 leading universities in Australia that have demonstrated sustainable energy leadership with their ambitious commitments to 100% renewable energy or carbon neutrality/net-zero emissions.
|No||State||University||Renewable energy Commitment||Carbon neutrality commitment|
|1||ACT||Australian National University||Increase renewable energy generation by 50 percent by 2021||Decrease total carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2021
Minimising the University's greenhouse gas emissions footprint through its own operations, in line with commitments to be greenhouse gas negative as soon as possible
|2||NSW||Australian Catholic University||100% renewable electricity by July 2021||Net zero emissions by 2030|
|3||NSW||Charles Sturt University||100% clean energy by 2030||First university to obtain NCOS/Climate Active-accredited carbon neutral status in 2016|
|4||NSW||Macquarie University||University’s total greenhouse gas emissions cut by 92 per cent, with the campus’ electricity being sourced from Snowy Hydro from 1 July 2020||Aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2030|
|5||NSW||University of Newcastle||Deliver 100% renewable electricity across our Newcastle and Central Coast campuses from 1 January 2020||Achieve carbon neutrality by 2025|
|6||NSW||University of New South Wales||100% renewable electricity by 2020||Carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020|
|7||NSW||University of Sydney||100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025||Net zero emissions by 2030|
|8||NSW||Western Sydney University||100% renewable energy by 2025||Net-zero GHG emissions target by 2030|
|9||QLD||CQ University||50 percent of its energy for its Queensland campuses sourced from renewable solar from 2021||Aim at reducing carbon emissions|
|10||QLD||Griffith University||45-50% emissions reduction against a 2010 baseline by 2030
Net zero emissions by 2050
|11||QLD||University of Queensland||100% renewable energy by 2020||Reduction in the university’s carbon footprint|
|12||QLD||University of the Sunshine Coast||Large-scale solar PV and thermal storage at Sippy Downs campus||Carbon neutral by 2025|
|13||QLD||University of Southern Queensland||Committed to achieve 100% renewable energy by installing a Sustainable Energy Solution||Carbon neutral by 2020|
|14||SA||Flinders University||Generate 30% of our energy needs from renewable sources||Achieve zero net emissions
from electricity by 2021
|15||SA||University of Adelaide||2MW of renewable energy installed by 2020|
15% reduction in Energy intensity
(GJ/GFA m2) by 2020 (2014 baseline)
|Net zero emissions by 2050|
|16||TAS||University of Tasmania||Ensure efficacious energy management and contribute to the Tasmanian Government 2022 target to be a 100% renewable-energy-powered State||Carbon neutral certified since 2016|
|17||VIC||Deakin University||Sustainable microgrid systems in the community and their effective integration with existing energy networks||Carbon neutral by 2030|
|18||VIC||La Trobe University||Renewable energy project will increase our solar generation by 200%||Carbon neutral by 2029 and our regional campuses are set to become carbon neutral by 2022.|
|19||VIC||RMIT University||100% renewable energy from 2019||Carbon neutral by 2030|
|20||VIC||Monash University||100% renewable energy by 2030||Net zero carbon emissions from Australian campuses by 2030|
|21||VIC||Swinburne University of Technology||Commit to 100 per cent renewable energy procurement by 31 July 2020||Carbon neutral by 2025|
|22||VIC||University of Melbourne||Achieve zero net emissions|
from electricity by 2021
|Achieve carbon neutrality
Reduce emissions by 20,000 tonnes of carbon per year by 2020 through on-campus energy projects
|23||WA||University of Western Australia||100% renewable energy by 2025||Energy carbon neutral by 2025|
100% Renewables has been pleased to support a number of these institutions with the development and delivery of their renewable energy and carbon abatement programs.
100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and action plans. If you need help with developing your climate action strategy, please contact Barbara or Patrick.
Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.