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NextGen Energy Program Overview

The NextGen Energy Program (NextGen) is a plan to replace, renew, and modernize the University of Maryland, College Park's aging energy system through a proposed public-private partnership (P3).  

NextGen continues UMD’s 20-year, cutting-edge approach to providing creative and sustainable energy solutions through P3s. Under the proposed P3 for NextGen, UMD will contract with a private sector entity to design, engineer, finance and install energy system improvements. The entity will also manage, operate and maintain the university's energy systems moving forward.

After extensive research and evaluation, the NextGen Energy Program proposes replacing our existing energy system in a way that is consistent with our core values and best serves our community, now and in the future. 

Home to over 55,000 students, faculty, and staff and more than 250 buildings, the University of Maryland is a small city unto itself. NextGen will ensure that our College Park Campus has reliable, efficient, and affordable energy services for decades to come.

HOW OUR ENERGY SYSTEM OPERATES TODAY

  • In a typical building you need cooling, heating and electricity to operate. The over 250 buildings on campus are no different. In 1999, UMD successfully partnered with a private sector energy company to provide energy to our campus.  
  • Our current energy system provides heating, cooling and electric services through what’s known as “tri-generation.” This allows us to produce all three types of energy with only one fuel input, minimizing lost or wasted energy.
  • The process begins with a natural gas-fired turbine that produces the bulk of electric energy for the campus. The heat that this turbine gives off, rather than being lost, is then captured in a heat recovery system to produce and process steam for heating the campus. The recovered steam is also utilized to generate additional electric power and to drive chillers that provide cooling to campus.

THREE WAYS NEXTGEN WILL IMPROVE OUR ENERGY SYSTEM

  • Update the distribution system to make heating and cooling campus buildings more efficient 
  • Implement measures to increase efficiency and resiliency based on available technology, cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions considerations
  • Make modifications to incorporate new, renewable energy sources and technologies

 

The NextGen Energy Program will modernize UMD's energy system to continue our legacy of achievement as a preeminent center for research and education. 

HOW WE ARRIVED AT THE NEXTGEN ENERGY PROGRAM 

Necessity, Efficiency, Environmental Awareness and Better Technologies

With our previous partnership coming to a close and our current system aging and therefore becoming less reliable and efficient, the university is evaluating an extensive range of options for generating heat and electricity on campus moving forward.

The final scope and approach of the NextGen Energy Program will be determined based on an evaluation of proposals from bidders that best align with the university’s goals.

The proposed NextGen Energy Program has the potential to produce cost savings in energy efficiencies and reduced maintenance, freeing resources for initiatives like: 

The proposed NextGen Energy Program has the potential to produce cost savings in energy efficiencies and reduced maintenance, freeing resources for initiatives like: Groundbreaking research in collaboration with faculty & staff; upgrades to campus facilities; student scholarship & internships; new and innovative academic programs

NextGen will serve as a platform to meet our critical UMD-wide sustainability goals for energy production and usage.

The university’s accelerated Climate Action Plan seeks carbon neutrality by 2025. NextGen can advance progress through: 

  • Improved operational efficiency and water recycling and decreased energy loss
  • Flexibility to incorporate low- and zero-emission fuel options in the future
  • Integration of energy storage or other microgrid compatible technologies  
  • Energy conservation measures through enhanced controls and monitoring systems 

The entire university community has an essential role to play in achieving our environmental goals. 

Reducing energy consumption on campus will also play a critical role in NextGen and in meeting our sustainability goals. We all can do our part through everyday activities, like: 

  • Unplugging our devices when not in use
  • Using LED lightbulbs and other energy saving devices
  • Being mindful of hot water usage 

Learn more about actions you can take at sustainingprogress.umd.edu.

As the NextGen Energy Program progresses, the university is committed to working alongside the State, the university community and other stakeholders.

 

Visit the Program Timeline and Program Team pages for additional information.