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UMD Moves Forward on New Energy System

By District Energy posted 04-18-2024 16:04


Maryland Today


The University of Maryland will seek the state’s approval to replace the campus’ aging power, boiler and chiller plants and key portions of the thermal distribution system as part of a long-term plan to pursue sustainable, fossil fuel-free energy alternatives. 

A $390 million investment in campus infrastructure, the NextGen Energy Program stands to significantly improve energy service on campus and result in immediate environmental impact, including cutting carbon emissions by 23% and reducing water consumption by 50% a year. 

“A carbon-neutral campus is a significant step, but now it’s time to set our sights on reducing UMD's dependency on fossil fuels,” said President Darryll J. Pines. "We are committed to a fossil fuel-free power plant under the NextGen Energy Program.”

The NextGen program, funded through UMD’s annual utilities budget, would be administered through a public-private partnership with Maryland Energy Impact Partners. It is planned to go before the Board of Public Works, comprising the governor, treasurer and comptroller, on May 15. 

The university’s current power plant, updated in 1999 and located along Baltimore Avenue near the intersection with Rossborough Lane, was designed to provide campus heating and 27 megawatts of power to campus. It runs at 60% capacity and is beyond its operating life, with aging parts that are no longer manufactured and a network of pipes prone to leaks (which appear as steam emanating from the ground around campus) and occasional disruptions in power, said Carlo Colella, vice president and chief administrative officer. 

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