University in Pittsburgh Monetizes Energy Assets through Tri-Generation

by | May 3, 2019

University in Pittsburgh Monetizes Energy Assets through Tri-Generation

(Photo Credit: Duquesne University)

Duquesne University in Pittsburgh signed a 40-year energy services agreement with Clearway Energy that monetizes energy assets via the school’s tri-generation facility. The new arrangement is also expected to make energy more efficient and reliable for the campus.

By selling their tri-generation facility to Clearway and entering a strategic partnership with the energy infrastructure investor, Duquesne University becomes only the second university in the United States to monetize energy assets this way, according to Clearway.

The Catholic university’s utility system was first constructed in 1967 and then turned into a tri-generation facility in 1997. It received a $2 million grant for upgrades in 2015. Tri-generation — also called combined cooling, heat, and power (CCHP) — presents an opportunity to convert excess steam into energy for electricity, water heating, and cooling.

Through the strategic partnership, the Duquesne tri-generation system will be interconnected to a nearby Clearway system. “The connection will make operating both facilities more efficient and provide back-up capacity if either system needs to shut down for maintenance or other reasons,” Clearway says. In addition, the deal monetizes excess steam capacity that the Duquesne plant produces, creating economic value for the university.

“With the additional capacity of the combined systems, we now have the ability to form a new and modern city-wide district energy system, helping improve resiliency and efficiency for schools, hospitals, and other customers in Pittsburgh,” said Jim Lodge, vice president of business development and strategy at Clearway.

Matt Frist, vice president for finance and business for Duquesne, added that the agreement aligns with the university’s strategic plan as well as the City of Pittsburgh’s EcoInnovation District goals for Uptown. Pittsburgh’s final EcoInnovation District plan, adopted in September 2017, promoted the use of low-cost combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

“Electricity generated from 13 CHP units can supply approximately 82% of the electricity demand in the Uptown EcoInnovation District Energy strategy,” the plan said.

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