In response to Dr. William Schlesinger’s Nov. 23 Point of View “Duke University plant would turn away from renewable energy”: As a student at Duke University, I completely agree that the proposed power plant on Duke’s campus would stain the integrity of this great university and set a shameful example of how an esteemed institution should approach climate action.
Duke Energy is using this type of plant to escape federal regulations, and Duke University is taking the bait. The claimed emission reductions and cost savings from this plant are based on heavily contested calculations, and the plant’s 35-year lifespan means this decision will influence other energy choices for decades.
A full evaluation of the economic and environmental impacts of the plant, as well as alternative energy options, is needed before any further action. As the cost of both renewable energy and storage drop at staggering rates, every leading organization must seek out these options.
If Duke wants to continue to grow its prestige as one of the best academic institutions in the world, it must act with the moral standards of one of the best institutions in the world. This means leading the movement towards secure, sustainable and renewable energy; not investing in a poorly thought-out fossil-fuel scheme.