MassPIRG investigates UMass Dartmouth’s energy potential

By Alex Kerravala, staff Writer

While the majority of us were able to enjoy our time on Spring Break, MassPIRG was hard at work, both locally and federally, for separate campaigns.

For starters, MassPIRG worked with their sister group Environment America and released a study, showing the offshore wind potential for Massachusetts.

For those who may know, offshore wind energy is the use of wind farms constructed in bodies of water, usually in the ocean on the continental shelf, to harvest wind energy in order to generate electricity. MassPIRG and Environment America were looking into the potential Massachusetts could have in investing in this type of renewable energy. As it turns out, the results were pretty spectacular.

Massachusetts seems to be a hotspot for offshore wind energy. As this report finds out, Massachusetts has the most offshore wind potential of any state in the US, and even more impressive, the most resourceful area happens to be the South shore. In fact, Massachusetts could make enough energy from offshore wind alone to power all of Massachusetts nineteen times over.

What makes this so important is that your favorite campus, UMass Dartmouth of course, happens to be located in the South Shore. This could mean that, with commitment, UMass Dartmouth could be the first UMass to be powered by one-hundred percent renewable energy.

Truly this is amazing news, not only for Massachusetts, but for the country. With Massachusetts paying less for energy, the taxes can go towards other projects at the state and federal level. Plus, there could potentially be an energy surplus, saving money across all of New England.

With these discoveries, MassPIRG is eager to, over the course of the year, petition for new energy contracts for UMass Dartmouth and restructure the infrastructure of the campus to be more susceptible to renewable energy sources.

With these actions, it could provoke a domino effect for other state universities, especially the UMass’, to rely on renewable energy. If one school is able to, why not others? All in all, this study is a milestone in the MassPIRG one-hundred percent renewable energy campaign.

At the federal level, the MassPIRG federal higher education advocate has been working with Senator Durbin of Illinois to allocate ten-million dollars for affordable higher education in both UMass Dartmouth specifically and Massachusetts colleges statewide.

While, unfortunately, MassPIRG was not able to secure the ten-million dollars they were pursuing. However, MassPIRG was able to allocate five-million dollars for the budget. While it isn’t everything needed, it is a significant help, and should not be taken lightly.

On top of this recent victory, there was a proposed 2.6 billion dollar budget cut for Massachusetts education that failed to pass.

What makes this incredible is it shows MassPIRG isn’t just a local, UMass Dartmouth organization. This shows MassPIRG has a large enough voice that can be recognized to make a difference at the federal level.

MassPIRG is a democracy in motion; a collection of like-minded individuals working together to make change at the federal level without being government officials themselves. Obviously, MassPIRG is a huge help, so naturally it deserves the student support it needs.

There will be a reaffirmation vote to keep MassPIRG running coming up. These elections will be held April 9-16. Whether MassPIRG is at all appealing to you, and if you enjoy what they do for the campus, or if you just want to support student leadership, find the time to vote and keep MassPIRG on this campus alive.

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