Welcome to the Duke Green Power Challenge!

Environmental Alliance and Duke University are challenging each member of the Duke community to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their electricity use by signing up for green power. Did you know that...

  • electricity generation is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States
  • over 70% of our electricity still comes from burning fossil fuels

By signing up for the Duke Green Power Challenge, you can now choose to have a school year's worth of energy generated by a clean, renewable source, such as wind power. When you sign up, the University is going to double your impact by matching your purchase of green power!

Sign up and take the Green Power Challenge!
(If you have any technical trouble with the order process, please e-mail sheaman@renewablechoice.com)

Question & Answers

What is Green Power?

Over 70% of our nation's electricity comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which generates greenhouse gases and pollutes our air and land. Green Power is electricity generated from clean, renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, and geothermal power.

What is the Duke Green Power Challenge?

The University and Environmental Alliance are challenging every member of the Duke community to upgrade their energy source to green power. To encourage students, faculty and staff to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their electricity, the University is going to match every person that signs up, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000! If we succeed in meeting that challenge, we will be offsetting about 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to *not* driving 5,000,000 miles in the average car.

Who can join the Duke Green Power Challenge?

Students, staff, faculty, and alumni. It was very important to President Keohane that the Challenge involve the whole Duke community: "This exciting and unique program challenges everyone in the University community to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their electricity. Choosing green power is the natural next step to meeting today's energy needs."

How does it work?

When you flip on a light in your house, dorm or office, you drain electricity out of the national power grid, which then has to be filled back up. Right now, it gets filled back up largely with electricity generated from burning fossil fuels because those are the cheapest. (National averages are 70% coal and gas, 22% nuclear, 7% hydro and only 1% renewables!) While fossil fuels are the cheapest, they are not the best for our environment and our future.

The good news is that you now have a choice as to how your energy is produced. By signing up for the Duke Green Power Challenge, you will be ensuring that when you drain electricity off the grid, the grid gets filled back up with energy generated by a green power source. This does not mean the electrons from the wind farm are going to find their way across the grid to your home, dorm room or office. What it does mean is that rather than having the grid filled back up with coal power, for example, it gets filled back up with a specific amount of green power.

Why does Green Power cost more?

Right now, it costs a little more to produce a kilowatt of electricty from a green power source than from traditional sources like coal and gas. Traditional sources are heavily subsidized but green power is not. Your choice to pay more levels the playing field and makes wind power competitive with coal. What you are doing when you sign up is saying, "Hey, I value having clean energy and clean air and I'm willing to pay the difference between the cost of green power and traditional power." For the entire year, that difference is only $50!

So where does my money go?

This money goes to wind and solar farms to cover the additional cost of producing energy from green sources versus traditional sources. This transaction is facilitated by Renewable Choice Energy, a Green-e certified renewable energy provider.

Can I sign up if I don't live on campus?

Yes. Anywhere you live in the US, you are constantly draining electricity out of the national power grid. Unless you sign up for green power, the grid gets filled back up with whatever is cheapest rather than what is best for our environment and future.

Who is Duke Environmental Alliance?

Environmental Alliance is a student organization committed to promoting the implementation of sustainable practices at Duke University. By educating, organizing and advocating, we strive to make Duke University a model campus for environmental stewardship.

Does purchasing green power affect my utility company bill?

No, the purchase of green power does not change the bill you receive from your utility. You will have a separate relationship with Renewable Choice Energy and your utility. Renewable Choice Energy deals directly with wind energy producers to ensure that your purchase results in more wind power being added to the grid.