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A&M’s New Power Plant Receives EPA Award

Texas A&M University’s new central power plant has received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Executive Director of Utilities and Energy Services Jim Riley says the CHP, which stands for Combined Heating and Power system, not only benefits the environment but is more reliable and saves money.

Riley says the efficiency of the new CHP means savings of $6 million a year over the previous system. The CHP uses only one-third to one-half of the energy consumed in a typical off-campus power plant.

The CHP was a $73.25 million dollar project, with $10 million paid by a federal grant. It’s part of an investment of more than $200 million in utility infrastructure on the A&M campus.

Riley says the CHP has the generating capacity to meet the continuing building expansion.

In a related item, the turbines at the CHP have been fueled this week by #2 fuel oil stored for emergencies.  Riley says that’s due to Atmos Energy replacing a natural gas pipeline at Texas and University. The less expensive natural gas is the primary fuel for the CHP, but Riley says the diesel used this week was purchased when the price was about one dollar a gallon. 

JimRiley020713.mp3WTAW’s Bill Oliver visits with Jim Riley.

News release courtesy of A&M:

Texas A&M University has been selected to receive a top award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for energy efficiencies resulting from the installation on campus of a combined heating and power (CHP) system that requires only 33 to 50 percent of the energy consumed in a typical off-campus power plant.

Jim Riley, Texas A&M’s executive director of Utilities & Energy Services, was notified by EPA official Gary McNeil that the university is a recipient of the 2013 Energy Star CHP Award that will be formally presented at the International District Energy Association Campus Energy Conference in San Diego on Feb. 20.

“Through the recovery of otherwise-wasted energy to provide heating, cooling and domestic hot water to campus facilities, Texas A&M has demonstrated exceptional leadership in energy use and management,” said McNeil, who heads the CHP Partnership Program in EPA’s Climate Protection Partnership Division.

Citing the significant savings in fuel, he said Texas A&M’s CHP system “prevents an estimated 99,600 tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions, while providing enough electricity to serve more than 11,000 homes.

“Moreover, by generating electricity on site, the CHP system displaces grid-supplied power, increasing the reliability of the energy supply while reducing demands on existing transmission and distribution infrastructure.”

Riley, who plans to attend the San Diego conference and formally accept the prestigious EPA award, said: “It’s an honor to see Texas A&M selected for this major national award in recognition of the accomplishments achieved by the university as we continue to improve the efficiency of providing utilities and energy services in support of the university’s students, faculty and staff.”

Texas A&M’s 5,200-acre campus serves a 50,000-member student body, one of the largest in the nation, and a highly active faculty, many of whom are engaged in a multitude of research projects while also carrying out their teaching responsibilities. Riley pointed out those experiments and studies, which require highly reliable utilities and energy, represent an annual investment of more than $700 million, placing Texas A&M among the leading research institutions nationally.

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Posted by on Feb 7 2013. Filed under Featured Stories, Interviews.

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