Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 81.81
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Colorado State University
IN-4: Innovation 4

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Nik Olsen
Assistant Director of Administrative Communications
Office of the President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Financing renewable energy projects on college campuses is a challenge in times of tight budgets. Colorado State has learned to use public – private partnerships (P3) to advance projects in these areas. Projects using this model include:
• Utility scale wind farm on a 3000+ acre campus in eastern Colorado - Colorado State & the private partner are in the midst of assessing the wind speed at the site. The meteorological tower was installed last September at the expense of the partner. However, as an added benefit, the vendor partnered with interested Engineering students in the tower installation & data collection process. Additional student participation is planned in the field assessment phase.
• Additional solar installations on campus – The University partnered with a solar developer to apply for incentives from the local utility to install additional photovoltaic systems on campus. The partner provided all the project development work at their cost. The utility incentives were insufficient to meet the need, so the university will be moving forward with a 100 kW system (we had hoped for up to 1,200 kW of projects).
• Large biomass cogeneration facility – Colorado State has a small scale biomass plant. However, there was a desire for a larger plant that would utilize additional biomass resources and serve a larger percentage of the campus load. The third party developer invested in two years of project development work, but the current record low price of natural gas has this project on hold.

In addition to these projects currently being studied, Colorado State hopes to engage 3rd party partners in add’l renewable projects including a geoexchange system to heat & cool the athletic building complex on campus (basketball arena, swimming pool, and health & exercise science facility) and solar thermal application for either swimming pool or domestic hot water in the residence halls.

The benefits of the P3 partnerships are many: the university is not required to raise scarce capital for renewable projects; the power purchase agreements allow the university to lock in energy rates and provide a hedge against future utility costs increases; can create a collaboration to include students and faculty with the partner; third party developers can utilize federal, state & local renewable energy incentives; and third party developers bring expertise to the table that doesn’t exist at most higher education institutions.

These unique partnerships open up a wide array of possibilities that were previously unimaginable due to the large capital requirements for the feasibility studies and ultimately installation of many of these initiatives. CSU plans to continue to use this model to advance renewable energy development on campus.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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