Decarbonization & Electrification Planning

Accelerating the path to decarbonizing UC campus energy infrastructure is the largest remaining challenge to achieving the goals of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative and maintaining UC’s status as a leader in climate action. 

UC Santa Cruz is now embarking on the next phase toward the full decarbonization and electrification of the campus. Read Chancellor Cynthia Larive’s charge to the new UCSC Decarbonization & Electrification (D&E) Task Force:

D&E Charge:

“To: Tony Cobb, AVC PPDO and Elida Erickson, Sustainability Director

I write in your capacity as co-chairs of the UCSC Decarbonization & Electrification Task Force to ask that you kick off efforts for our campus to develop a long-term plan to end the use of fossil fuels at UC Santa Cruz. This plan should focus on the residential campus, Westside Research Park and Coastal Science locations and should build on previous planning work performed by the campus including the LRDP 2020-2040 Medium Voltage Electrical Master Plan and the Climate and Energy Strategy (CES) document from January 2017. I ask that you identify specific actions that UCSC can take to reduce our scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions by 2030, ideally to zero, using current or emerging technologies and leveraging strategies and projects that have already been identified and are underway. The plan should also include information about budget implications and, to the extent possible, the feasibility of the proposed recommendations. The plan should be completed by June 30, 2023 and I would like to receive interim progress reports on or before December 16, 2022 and March 17, 2023 highlighting milestones and challenges encountered. If the task force determines that it will be necessary to seek the advice and assistance of consultants in carrying out this charge, please provide for my review the draft RFP and the recommendations for the choice of consultants prior to executing a contract. Budget Analysis and Planning will work with you, as needed, to establish budget authority to engage an external consultant.

To move this effort forward, I suggest that the work be carried out through monthly meetings of the full task force, with assistance and input from the Core Technical Support Group that will meet on a more frequent schedule. The membership of these teams is outlined below.

Please actively engage campus subject matter experts, and members of the Joint Senate/Administration Committee on Climate Change, Sustainability and Resilience which will launch this fall as part of our strategic planning efforts.

I appreciate your leadership of this critical planning effort."

- Chancellor Cynthia Larive, August 29, 2022

Task Force Committee members listed below

 

Get involved
Thank you to all the UCSC community members, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, Santa Cruz residents and organization leaders who attended our January 26, 2023 inaugural Decarbonization & Electrification Town Hall!

At the town hall, the D&E Task Force and the Climate Coalition updated the campus on the task force’s work and discussed the next steps for the decarbonization of our campus (see recording under presentations).

Your partnership, comments and suggestions are essential to creating an effective plan. 
If you have questions you’d like addressed at a future town hall or have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the D&E planning process, please submit your thoughts here


Presentations
Climate Coalition
Campus emissions, actions, and D&E planning update
Decarbonization & Electrification Towh Hall January 26, 2023 recording

 

The Bigger Picture

UC president drake.png
UC President Drake

In 2022, UC President Michael Drake announced his priorities which called for climate action and leadership to span all aspects of UC’s mission. 

Specifically related to UCSC’s D&E effort, he called for each UC to: Achieve carbon neutrality in 2025 as each location establishes a goal for fossil-free operations: Set a sunset date on each location’s operation of combined heat and power plants, establish more aggressive transportation goals (e.g., discontinuing the purchase of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2025), and set reduction goals for our supply-chain purchases, food, water, waste and construction emissions. 

 

Resources 

Looking to learn more about decarbonization and electrification? See these recommended reading, watching, and listening resources:

  1. 5 min video: Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye | National Geographic
  2. 1:43 hour podcast: NYT Ezra Klein Podcast “The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I’ve Heard: To combat climate change, the energy expert Jesse Jenkins explains how we will need to completely rewire America.”
  3. 3 min video: Stanford’s Central Plant Optimization - A great video highlighting a popular carbon free energy plant alternative.
  4. University of California’s Framework for Incorporating Environmental & Climate Justice into Climate Action
  5. Both UC Berkeley and UC Davis are leading the UC’s in fossil free planning. Watch their town hall webinars explaining their progress to date:

UCSC’s Decarbonization & Electrification Task Force 

Tony Cobb, associate vice chancellor, PPDO, co-chair

Elida Erickson, sustainability director, co-chair

Christina Armstrong, special advisor and director of strategic initiatives, Chancellor Office

Teresa Buika, contracts and grants writer, Real Estate & Contract Services

Phil Boutelle, engineering services and project manager, PPDO

Mike Cabak, electrical engineer, Design and Construction Services, PPDO

Jeff Clothier, superintendent, Mechanical + Building Management Systems, PPDO

Keith Corzine, professor, Computer and Electrical Engineering

Ian Cowan, student representative, UCSC Climate Coalition

Veronica Forrette, special projects coordinator, CP/EVC Office

Jen Hale, director, PPDO Business Services and Advisor to the AVC PPDO

Michael Hanson, director, Physical Plant, PPDO

Steve Houser, director, Capital Planning and Employee Housing, CHES

Jolie Kerns, campus planner, PPDO

Troy Lawson, executive advisor, Office of Budget and Planning

T. "Mai", student representative, UCSC Climate Coalition

Susan Monroe, executive assistant to AVC PPDO

Ann Pham, assistant executive vice chancellor/chief of staff, CP/EVC office 

Gary Riggs, superintendent, Cogeneration + Electrical, PPDO

Jason Samaha, assistant professor, PsychologyDepartment & UCSC Climate Coalition representative

Randolph Skrovan, facilities manager, Institute of Marine Sciences

Karen Smith, director, Capital Planning and Space Management, PPDO

Clement Stokes, associate vice chancellor, Risk & Safety Services

Patrick Testoni, energy manager, PPDO

Ellen Vaughan, water and climate action manager, Sustainability Office