EEI > Delivering The Future
The Two Dukes, Partnership for Climate Neutrality
June 2016

​America’s investor-owned electric companies understand that innovative partnerships with private and public entities from every sector of the economy can help to deliver the clean energy future that customers want. Earlier this week, Duke Energy and Duke University jointly announced a new partnership to build a super-efficient type of power plant on the university’s campus.

If the plan is approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC), Duke Energy will build an innovative and highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) facility on Duke University’s campus in Durham. Once approved, Duke Energy expects the $55-million project to come online in 2018.

The power generated by the plant will be fed back into the energy grid for the benefit of all local customers, including Duke University. The steam will be sold to the university for heating water and other critical support functions throughout the main campus and medical center. By combining heat and power generation in a single unit, the new facility will lower Duke University's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by about 25 percent.

In addition to providing 21 megawatts of electricity, the plant will generate as much as 75,000 pounds of steam per hour. The plant will operate by burning natural gas to generate electricity, and recapture heat from the combustion process that would be lost as waste in a traditional plant.

"The innovative approach provides multiple benefits to a large customer like Duke University and is a cost-effective generation asset for Duke Energy and our customers in North Carolina,” said Duke Energy North Carolina President David Fountain.

As major users of electricity and thermal energy, universities across the country are seeking out innovative partnerships with the country’s electric companies to help them meet efficiency and emissions goals.

"This partnership will provide value for Duke University and will accelerate our progress towards climate neutrality," said Duke University's executive vice president Tallman Trask III. Duke University’s Climate Action Plan calls for a reduction in overall energy use, with the goal of making the school carbon-neutral by 2024.