The University of Connecticut’s energy costs won’t be affected much by Eversource’s jump in energy prices, said Norlan Stanley, UConn’s director of utility operations and energy management. The company is increasing their costs from 10.003 cents to 11.73 cents per kilowatt/hour.
“Thankfully we use our energy very efficiently here at Storrs, because of our cogeneration plant we get two uses out of every unit of fuel burned,” Stanley said.
For most typical facilities, the heat produced from natural gas is lost, but with the cogen plant heat is recaptured and used again to warm UConn buildings with steam systems, Stanley said.
“Our budget is around $27 million annually for all campuses, both Storrs and regional campuses,” Stanley said.
UConn is still under contract with Eversource, meaning the price increase won’t affect the university until at least 2022.
“We have price stability for five years under our contract. When the prices change, we won’t be affected and it gives us time to prepare for the changes by the time the contract is up,” Stanley said.
Consistent tune ups on the buildings around campus keep energy prices intact and everything running at peak efficiency. All the work that is put in eliminates budget and energy use concerns, Stanley said.
“We conserve energy first before buying any additional [energy], and since the contracts are long term that impact is not filled in one year,” Stanley said. “We are looking two to three years ahead, so we can save a third of it this year, a second third next year, and the year it comes into effect would be the third, and that gives us the funds we would need to go forward.”
Price increases can actually be beneficial, as they serve as an aid to UConn graduate students who do research at the Eversource Energy Center in the Innovation Partnership Building on the Storrs campus.
“They are doing a lot of work with better batteries for storage,” Stanley said. “There is a lot of room for research and growth, and that can be part of the research we do at UConn so there are always sufficient assets available to make the power people need and do research to further develop their technology.”
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com