New power facility on Duke campus could lower school’s emissions by 25 percent

Duke University campus
Duke University campus Courtesy of Duke Energy

Duke Energy and Duke University are proposing a 21-megawatt natural gas combined heat and power facility on the school’s Durham campus that could reduce the university’s carbon emissions by about 25 percent.

The facility would cost about $55 million, Charlotte-based Duke Energy said in a statement Monday. The proposed 35-year agreement is subject to approval by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The plant is expected to come online in 2018, Duke Energy said.

If it is approved, the facility would use the waste heat from generating electricity to produce thermal energy and steam for the school, the utility said. The electric power could then be put back onto Duke Energy’s grid to be used by the university and the Durham community.

The new facility would be connected to an existing Duke Energy substation on campus, which serves the school, its medical center and other nearby customers.

“By combining steam and electricity generation systems, we can increase efficiency and reduce our overall consumption by millions of units of energy each year, and have a positive effect on the community at large,” said Duke University’s executive vice president Tallman Trask.

The project would lower energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at Duke by about 25 percent, Duke Energy added.