Thermal Production Facility Project Overview

The existing infrastructure that serves the campus consists of a complex arrangement of utility systems comprised of 10 chilled water plants, miles of underground steam and chilled water distribution piping, 16 campus electrical distribution substations, dozens of miles of electrical distribution feeders, a wastewater treatment plant and a central cogeneration facility (the latter owned and operated by Duke Energy). The Duke Energy cogeneration facility has been in operation for 25 years and is the primary source of steam for the campus. The Duke facility is not directly connected to the UF electrical distribution system. UF is a retail electricity customer of Duke and takes delivery for all electricity to the campus via grid-connected substations. While the cogeneration facility has provided a reliable source of energy for UF, it is approaching the end of its service life and subsequent contract expiration. In addition, the related infrastructure systems that produce chilled water and deliver thermal energy and electricity to the campus require upgrade and expansion. Utility system distribution capacity is insufficient to meet the needs of the growing campus and lacks the redundancy for reliable operations. The campus currently has no source of islandable power generation to support critical operations in the event of a grid outage or failure. An efficient and resilient infrastructure solution is essential for the university.

UF intends to pursue an energy project that will advance the university as a leader in campus efficiency and reliability. The Thermal Production Facility Project is critical to enabling the growth of the campus and must be operational to replace the existing Duke Energy cogeneration plant prior to its scheduled decommissioning in September 2027.

To that end, the proposed energy project will include:

  • The design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a campus thermal energy plant, which will provide steam, chilled water and electricity to the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus, and infrastructure ancillary thereto;
  • The construction, and financing of a proposed new South District thermal piping distribution loop located in the University‚Äôs South District to be built with the goal of improving chilled water and steam delivery and resiliency to campus and hospital facilities; and
  • The construction, and financing of a proposed electrical substation on Mowry Road and related electrical distribution system upgrades and adjacent thermal utilities.

The project is not anticipated to cover any components of the UF utility system beyond those enumerated above.