GI Energy was listening hard to attendees of the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Campus Energy 2019 Conference in New Orleans, LA last week. Their conversations reflected many campuses underlying energy concerns, thoughts and aspirations: from what source should energy be generated? What technologies are available to support the transition to ‘clean energy’? How best to balance the competing requirements of cost-effectiveness, resilience and sustainability?
“Storage – a critical part of resiliency”
“Automation is an essential part of microgrid technology…”
“Thermal storage: decoupling the production of heating & cooling from the moment of use”
“Budget neutral carbon neutrality”
“Including CHP with renewables to avoid nuclear”
~2,000 attendees from campuses across the globe came together to discuss important themes beyond the essential topics of district energy, heating, cooling and water. These included collaboration, campus goals and of course, education. Competing with the Mardi Gras parades, the booths, speeches and networking opportunities inside rivaled the ~25M pounds of beads thrown during the festivities…
These issues were highlighted during an opening plenary panel that included representatives from Dartmouth, Emory, Harvard, Oberlin, and UT – Austin. The campuses detailed their unique approaches to district solutions. Common goals included reduction in fossil fuel dependence and carbon neutrality. Panelists and the audience agreed (as measured by real time polling during the session) that meeting ambitious goals requires collaboration between all stakeholders, on and off campus.
- Oberlin College, are uniquely focusing on resiliency, not only for their students, faculty and staff, but for the wider community by working to create a haven for use in the event of a major climate change event.
- Princeton University, like many, understand the need to take a phased approach to meet their campus goals. In creating their master plan they demonstrated collaboration through the solicitation of 15 subcontractors operating under the university’s leadership.
- UC Davis discussed the management of existing dated systems. They also described creating a master plan for their primate research center. They are considering various of the GI Energy offerings such as solar, thermal and biogas.
- University of Texas at Austin has yet to define their campus mandates but are looking into efficiency improvements as a first step to a cleaner future – they have already made strides to improve throughout the campus.
Finding the right solutions will continue to be an ongoing concern for many campuses. They recognize the importance of partnering with organizations who have knowledge about integrating the various technologies, understand regulations and can support communications with necessary stakeholders. Bringing in a trusted developer, like GI Energy, is a significant first step towards executing the diversification of their campus energy. GI Energy has the support of the resources and financial backing of Shell New Energies US LLC, and deep experience of working with campuses to find the right solution for their specific pain points.
If we missed you during the conference, please feel free to reach out to Jeff Lepley at JLepley@GIEnergyus.com. We’d love to connect! In the meantime we’re still concentrating on attendees thoughts…
“ …. the importance of islanding” and how to avoid the “Single Point of failure”. The value of “Island grids with sustainable on-site generation”, why “ … a typical microgrid does not contain geothermal as a component of energy supply” and “How do university grid partners generate electricity? – an opportunity to differentiate…”