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Test well at new WCMA site fails, College to continue geothermal efforts

By District Energy posted 02-29-2024 08:34


The Williams Record


Following the failure of a geothermal test well at the site of the new Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), the College will continue to explore the use of geothermal energy. The College aims to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent in accordance with to the Energy and Carbon Master Plan. This is intended to be accomplished by reducing emissions from purchased electricity, College vehicles, and building heating and cooling. Continued efforts will start with a new test well at Weston Field, Assistant Director of Facilities for Energy and Utilities Jason Moran said.

Two buildings at the College — graduate student residences Fort Bradshaw and Fellows Hall, located near The Clark Art Institute and the Center for Development Economics, respectively — already each use 10 geothermal wells for heating and cooling.

To build upon the successful construction of these projects, the College sought to build a larger and more efficient district energy system facility at the new WCMA site. “What we were looking at the site for the new museum is the potential to drill a larger well field that would serve multiple buildings,” Srebotnjak said. “There’s an efficiency gain there, from a cost perspective.” Srebotnjak explained that economies of scale arise from having one larger geothermal field rather than building many smaller facilities in each building.

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