Press Release - April 19, 2023
Loyola University Chicago Commits to Clean Power in Illinois
100 percent of University’s electricity needs will be provided through new solar project
CHICAGO – April 19, 2023
Loyola University Chicago today announced that the University has signed an agreement in partnership with Constellation (Nasdaq: CEG) to purchase power from a new solar project under development in Sangamon and Morgan Counties in Illinois. Developed by renewable energy developer, owner and operator Swift Current Energy, the project—named “Double Black Diamond”—will be the largest solar farm in Illinois and among the largest solar projects in the country, and provide enough electricity to completely power the University’s Lake Shore, Water Tower, and Health Sciences Campuses.
After a multi-year process considering several clean energy solutions and navigating a challenging policy and economic landscape in consultation with the University’s advisor Coho, Loyola selected Double Black Diamond to spur economic development in Illinois and support new energy production linked with campus demand. Compared to current electricity and renewable energy credit purchasing, Loyola anticipates significant savings during the 12-year agreement.
This new agreement will help Loyola further its goals as identified in A Just Future, the University’s Climate Action Plan towards carbon neutrality by 2025. This innovative energy sourcing approach follows other significant commitments to sustainability by the University, including over $150 million invested in high-performing buildings and campus energy systems, the inclusion of sustainability in the core curriculum, and the launch of the School of Environmental Sustainability in 2020.
“Loyola’s Jesuit, Catholic mission puts care for humanity’s common home—planet Earth—at the forefront of our efforts and leads us to take action on climate change and a sustainable future,” said Dr. Mark C. Reed, president of Loyola. “This commitment starts at home. Our students have been vocal supporters and advocates of transitioning energy purchases to renewable energy, and I commend them for their activism and leadership. As the University strives to address, through education and research, society’s most urgent and complex issues, this agreement demonstrates our commitment to environmental change.”
Loyola will use the Constellation Offsite Renewables (CORe) product to facilitate its renewable energy transaction. CORe connects customers to the economic and sustainability benefits of large-scale, offsite renewable energy projects and is among Constellation’s suite of retail power products that help customers achieve their carbon reduction goals.
Double Black Diamond is expected to start producing renewable electricity in late 2024. Loyola has agreed to purchase the electricity produced sized to the campus demand of 81,660 megawatt hours of electricity in the first year of production. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this is the equivalent of removing 12,586 passenger vehicles driven per year or electricity use in 10,512 homes in one year. The project is intended to be constructed and certified "Pollinator Friendly" through the State of Illinois' Solar Site Pollinator Score Card Program featuring native wildflowers and vegetated buffers.
Loyola’s partners on the project will be qualifying Double Black Diamond under the Illinois Power Agency’s Self Direct program, made possible by the state Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). This program enables a more diverse and equitable workforce to empower Illinois in reaching its renewable energy targets while supporting good-paying jobs and healthy communities. The project has set apprenticeship, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion hiring goals, which are being facilitated by local unions for carpenters, laborers, operators, electricians, and crew leads, and will utilize American-made panels and tracker systems. This project also allows Loyola to support the construction of new, local, renewable capacity, greening the Illinois grid, which will deliver savings to its students and help claim the benefits of clean power. Loyola, Constellation, and Swift Current have also agreed to establish and integrate academic opportunities for students, which include visits to the central Illinois project once operational and speaker presentations from clean energy experts.
"Loyola University Chicago continues to put their values into action demonstrating the type of leadership that makes the University more than a world class academic institution; they are a partner in Chicago and the 49th Ward achieving our climate and sustainability goals," said Alderwoman Maria Hadden.
Loyola is a Gold rated higher education institution for sustainability through the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). For more information on this project, please contact Loyola’s Office of Sustainability at sustainability@LUC.edu or learn more about Loyola’s Commitment to Sustainability.
About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 17,500 students. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens), and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 15 schools, colleges, and institutes. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations including AmeriCorps and the Carnegie Foundation. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago.
Headquartered in Baltimore, Constellation Energy Corporation (Nasdaq: CEG) is the nation’s largest producer of clean, carbon-free energy and a leading supplier of energy products and services to businesses, homes, community aggregations and public sector customers across the continental United States, including three fourths of Fortune 100 companies. With annual output that is nearly 90 percent carbon-free, our hydro, wind and solar facilities paired with the nation’s largest nuclear fleet have the generating capacity to power the equivalent of 15 million homes, providing approximately 10 percent of the nation’s clean energy. We are further accelerating the nation’s transition to a carbon-free future by helping our customers reach their sustainability goals, setting our own ambitious goal of achieving 100 percent carbon-free generation by 2040, and by investing in promising emerging technologies to eliminate carbon emissions across all sectors of the economy. Follow Constellation on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About Swift Current
Swift Current Energy is investing in renewable energy to create a sustainable future. Founded in 2016, the company develops, constructs, owns and operates highly competitive, utility-scale wind, solar and energy storage projects across the United States. For more information, please visit swiftcurrentenergy.com.