I would like to shed some light on a local issue that hasn’t received enough attention.
Over the next year, the University of Florida has the ability to take a large step toward reaching its goal of carbon neutrality by the year 2025.
Currently, all the university’s electrical needs are met by a company named Duke Energy. Based out of North Carolina, Duke Energy boasts that it’s the largest electric power holding company.
Like most large corporations, Duke Energy likes to make large profits, which explains its connection with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
In the past, ALEC has helped prohibit the EPA from establishing carbon-emission regulations and providing legal protection for corporate polluters.
However, UF’s contract with Duke ends at the end of the year.
This opens up much opportunity for UF to invest more in renewable and sustainable energy.
As a student majoring in natural-resource conservation and paying my own tuition, I am ashamed that the money spent for credit hours is helping to fund this company.
The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill recently fought the same battle and successfully negotiated a contract with Duke to develop wind turbines on campus.
Student and community groups in Gainesville are asking for open inclusion about the decision to resign with Duke Energy.
As Duke’s largest customer, the University of Florida has the ability to make some significant changes to the way it currently uses energy and take steps in the right direction.
[A version of this letter to the editor ran on page 7 on 2/3/2014 under the headline "UF needs to hold Duke Energy accountable"]