New 40-year public-private partnership involves the campus Tri Generation facility
Duquesne University has finalized the sale of its Tri Generation facility to a subsidiary, Clearway Energy, Inc., and the parties have entered into a 40-year energy services agreement. With this arrangement, Duquesne becomes the second recent university in the United States and the first in Pennsylvania to monetize energy assets via a Tri Generation facility, which allows users to convert excess steam that otherwise becomes waste into reliable energy for electricity, water heating and cooling.
The strategic partnership creates an arrangement to interconnect the Duquesne System, owned and operated by Clearway, to a neighboring Clearway system. The connection will make operating both facilities more efficient and provide back-up capacity if either system needs to shut down for maintenance or other reasons. The new arrangement will also monetize excess steam capacity currently produced by the plant on Duquesne’s campus, unlocking economic value for the University.
The transaction demonstrates ongoing momentum in the higher education sector for schools to monetize their energy assets under public-private partnerships and outsource energy services, allowing them to reinvest in their core missions and services.
“Clearway is an industry leader with vast experience operating combined heat, cooling, and power generating plants across the United States. This partnership will allow Duquesne to focus its resources on its core mission of educating students,” said Matt Frist, vice president for finance and business. “Further, this initiative directly aligns with the University’s strategic plan and one of the City of Pittsburgh’s Eco Innovation District goals aimed at pursuing solutions for district energy within Uptown.”
“We are excited to partner with Duquesne to provide efficient and reliable electricity, steam, and chilled water services. Clearway’s long-standing presence and continued investment in Pittsburgh’s downtown district energy system positioned us to further expand with the addition of the Duquesne System via a planned interconnection to our neighboring system,” said Jim Lodge, vice president, business development and strategy, for Clearway. “With the additional capacity of the combined systems, we now have the ability to form a new and modern city-wide district energy system, helping improve resiliency and efficiency for schools, hospitals, and other customers in Pittsburgh.”
Duquesne’s Utility System was originally constructed in 1967 and converted in 1997 to a Tri Generation facility. Ernst and Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC and George K. Baum & Co. acted as financial advisors to Duquesne. Cohen & Grigsby and Babst, Calland, Clements & Zomnir, P.C. acted as legal counsel to the University.