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Friday, Sep 19, 2014

A Few Clouds, 68 °F

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A portion of the Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiatives plan will replace the previously planned Lausche Combined Heat and Power Plant.

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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Energy infrastructure plan approved by Board of Trustees


The Ohio University Board of Trustees Friday approved a request that allows the University’s leadership to move forward in implementing an Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative meant to phase in energy upgrades to the Athens Campus over the next two to three years.

A portion of this initiative will take the place of the previously planned Lausche Combined Heat and Power Plant project, which was found to be more expensive than originally anticipated and would not sufficiently serve the University’s energy needs. During the Request for Proposal process, the University discovered they could not agree to the terms and conditions of contracts offered by engaged bidders. As a result, University leadership reevaluated the plans to upgrade the Lausche Plant and determined a cogeneration power plant would not be the best option for the University at this time.

The new Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative will also:

  • Improve energy conservation
  • Provide reliability and flexibility
  • Meet institutional objectives and commitments to stop coal use by summer 2015
  • Progress towards carbon neutrality by 2075
  • Comply with energy regulations.

The $79 million of anticipated spending for the initiative will be broken down into four areas:

  • Utility Master Plan - $1.1 million
  • Chilled Water - $34.4 million
  • Electric - $18.5 million
  • Steam - $25 million

The Capital Improvement Plan FY2015-FY2020 lists the proposed funding sources for such projects totaling $85 million, which includes the previously estimated cost of the Lausche Combined Heat and Power Plant project. The Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative proposal to the Board did not include any requests for additional funds.

The first phase in the Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative is a Utilities Master Planning effort. This planning effort would document repair needs, modifications and capacity additions to the University’s energy systems. The master planning would yield a detailed plan outlining how the University can meet its energy needs, both today and in the future.

Remaining phases of the Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative include upgrading the chilled water service to the University by building a new Chilled Water Plant, upgrading the electric distribution on the Athens Campus (a project that is already underway with the installation of a new duct bank and switches), and improving the steam production by using additional dual fuel boilers while upgrading to natural gas delivery on campus.

The recommended steam production replacement to the old Lausche Combined Heat and Power Plant will offer greater reliability, allow the plant to meet campus needs and meet OHIO’s commitment to stop burning coal by 2015. The proposed plan will include renting two dual fuel boilers for two years, while two existing coal fired boilers are initially mothballed for potential alternative energy use. Two to three new dual fuel boilers will eventually join the two existing boilers that are already burn natural gas. The proposed plan also allows for increased flexibility, as well as greater options for future alternative energy uses.