NC State celebrates energy milestone

North Carolina State University has completed an 11 megawatt combined heat and power, or cogeneration, facility that is expected to generate $4.3 million of energy savings in the first year of operation.

The recently-completed renovation of Cates Utility Plant on campus increases the facility’s efficiency by roughly 35 percent. It is also expected to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent, building on a 7 percent reduction from 2008 to 2010 and moving NC State closer toward its goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

Following eight years of planning, the renovation began in January 2011 as a $61 million performance contract with Ameresco, Inc., which guaranteed $4.3 million of energy savings in the first year. Utilizing the state’s largest performance contract at the time of construction, the facility will pay for itself through energy savings over 17 years – without using any additional state funding.

On Nov. 14, University Chancellor Randy Woodson will cut the ribbon on the new facility, which has been servicing approximately 8 million gross square feet of campus building space since coming online Sept. 14.

Two natural gas-fired 5.5 megawatt combustion turbines and two 50,000 pound per hour heat recovery steam generators have replaced aging boilers that served the campus for more than 50 years. An interactive online graphic shows how the new facility operates.

In addition to energy savings and helping NC State become more sustainable, the facility is also a resource for teaching students about energy efficient technologies.

For more information: Carla Davis,, 919.513.0177