State of Energy: OU just switched off coal, meanwhile other schools are divesting from fossil fuels

This article is the second in the three-part #StateOfEnergyOU series.

Ohio University’s Lausche Power Plant officially transitioned off using a combination of coal and gas in November 2015 and began burning only natural gas. Student groups like the Ohio University Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) are calling for full fossil fuel divestment, however.

Fossil Free, 350.org’s fossil fuel divestment campaign, has a list on its website of educational institutions all over the globe which have committed to fossil fuel divestment. The institutions’ commitment recognitions fall on a sliding scale, from coal-only, to fossil fuel-divestment to full divestment.

The above map indicates the locations of US educational institutions that have divested from fossil fuels (and also OU). To try and put the matter into context, the regions that produce the most coal, oil, gas and renewable energy have been indicated.

While the Lausche’s recent changes are significant infrastructural changes that lower OU’s carbon emissions, it is not divestment per se, which pertains more to an institution’s stocks and bonds in fossil fuel companies.

A quick breakdown:

Total US educational institutions divested from fossil fuel*: 27

  • Institutions within 100 miles of a coast: 14
  • Institutions within states for which at least 40% of energy comes from renewable resources: 8
  • Institutions within major fossil fuel-producing states: 12
  • Institutions within states with no identification: 6
  • Institutions within states with a coastline: 24

Ohio University In Comparison

  • OU has the fourth-largest student body size of the 28 institutions.
  • OU’s student body size is over twice the average of the institutions’.
  • OU, like 18% of the institutions, is located in a coal-producing state.
  • Nearly 86% of Ohio’s energy is generated from coal, according to the Ohio Coal Association.

The final article in the #StateOfEnergyOU series will compare OU’s steps towards carbon neutrality with fossil fuel-divested educational institutions.


*According to Fossil Free. Certain institutions with multiple campuses have been excluded due to uncertainties over which campuses have divested. Ohio University is not included in the 27 institutions.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);

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Luca Wistendahl
Web developer. I press buttons and sometimes make things look pretty.
When I write, I'm usually focusing on local environmental/energy issues.

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