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Michigan State University Trustees expected to vote on energy plan

Michigan State University is in the midst of a debate over how much the school  can rely on alternative energy sources to power its East Lansing campus.   

The university’s Board of Trustees meets Friday to vote on an energy plan for MSU. 

Earlier this week, MSU students used a giant inflatable inhaler to dramatize their concerns about the university’s large coal fired power plant located just south of campus. 

The students want MSU to commit to turning completely to wind, solar and other alternative energy sources for the university’s electricity needs.

“It is very ironic that we’re on the cutting edge of all these different science and technologies…but at the same time are using a 19th century technology to power our campus," says Talya Tavor, with the “MSU Beyond Coal Campaign”

While 100% alternative energy might be a goal, Jennifer Battle says it’s just not practical at the moment.   Battle is the assistant director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability. 

“You can’t have a plan that gets you to one place…but costs billions of dollars and no one can afford to attend Michigan State," says Battle. 

The plan before the MSU Trustees would commit the university to increasing its reliance on alternative energy from its current two percent to 40 percent by 2030.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.