- Duke Energy and Duke University have partnered on a $55 million, 21 MW gas-fueled combined heat and power project on the Durham, N.C., campus, aimed at bringing more efficient and clean power to the school and community, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.
- The generation would be connected to an existing Duke Energy substation located on the campus, which serves the university, its medical center and other customers.
- The news outlet reports Duke filed an application for the project this week, while also revealing it is considering similar projects with other organizations.
When Duke announced the CHP project earlier this year, aiming to bring it online in 2018, the utility said it would be "one of the most efficient generating assets in the Duke Energy generation fleet." That explains why the power company has also been looking at similar arrangements with other organizations.
According to filed testimony, Duke "began soliciting interest in CHP from existing large industrial, institutional, and military customers with high minimum steam needs in 2015, and identified (Duke University) as one of several interested prospects,” the Charlotte Business Journal reports.
“Since the Duke University CHP is the first of its kind on the DEC system, cost savings are expected to be realized going forward with additional CHP installations," said Duke Director of Wholesale and Renewables Analytics James Northrup.
If approved, the plant would use the waste heat from generating electricity to produce thermal energy and steam needed for the university, while the electric power would be put back on the Duke Energy electric grid to serve the university and nearby customers.
In addition to 21 MW of power, the facility would be capable of producing roughly 75,000 pounds per hour of steam, which would be sold to Duke University for heating water and other uses.
CHP installations have slowed in recent years, but the resource still represents a significant portion of the United States' total capacity. CHP and fuel cell systems made up 8% of U.S. capacity last year, and total about three times solar's capacity.
There is roughly 83 GW of installed CHP capacity in the United States. While the industry has struggled for significant growth in recent years, analysts say utility involvement and persisting low gas prices could help the sector build on emerging demand from the residential sector.