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Jan. 16, 2012

MSU shares Energy Transition Plan

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University has unveiled its Energy Transition Plan, a living document that will serve as a high-level, strategic plan to guide the university as it plots its energy future.

More than a year in the making, the plan was created by the Energy Transition Steering Committee, a 24-member group of students, faculty and staff whose charge was to develop a plan to help MSU reliably meet its future energy needs while keeping a close eye on costs and environmental impacts.

The ultimate goal of the plan is to help create an environment in which the university is powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

However, committee members realize that this will take time, an investment in resources and more advanced technology than is currently available.

“This is the first and most important step toward a renewable future at MSU,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “If adopted by the Board of Trustees, this plan will set standards and govern future energy decisions, similar to how the Campus Master Plan guides the university’s growth.”

The plan can be viewed at It is scheduled to be presented to the MSU Board of Trustees for final approval at its April 13 meeting.

The plan has three specific goals:

  • Improve the physical environment of the campus. That means the pursuit of aggressive, sustainable energy conservation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the re-investment of energy savings for future renewable technologies.
  • Invest in sustainable energy research and development. The university will strive to promote sustainable energy research by using the campus as a living, learning laboratory for developing, evaluating and demonstrating new technologies.
  • Become an educational leader in sustainable energy. MSU will apply its knowledge to improve the quality of life for local, regional and national communities. The university will share what it learns through its energy-transition process.

Currently, the chief power provider to MSU’s 5,200-acre campus is the T.B. Simon Power Plant. Located on the south end of campus, the power plant burns coal, natural gas and biomass to produce steam that is used for heat and electricity. The university also has two solar arrays that are used to produce on-campus energy, as well as a geothermal system currently under construction.


Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.