Skip to main content

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.

By modernizing our systems, NextGen aims to drive UMD's success and support its mission of providing excellent teaching, research and services; advance UMD's commitment to addressing climate change; and ensure responsible stewardship of our resources, facilities and infrastructure. 

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

  • Typical buildings require 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. Rather than being lost, the heat that this turbine gives off 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.

 

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. NextGen will allow us to improve our system in a variety of ways, including: 

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

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

Ensuring we have reliable energy services impacts every facet of campus life, including dorms, dining halls, classrooms, labs, the student union and the stadium, and renewing and modernizing our system is critical to driving the university’s success and supporting our mission of providing excellent teaching, research and service.

NextGen will serve as one of the key platforms that will allow the university to meet and surpass its sustainability goals - including the decarbonization of our energy system by 2035.  

While we initially set 2050 as a base goal for decarbonization, with 2035 as a stretch, we are now focused on the more aggressive goal of 2035 based on our analysis of technical concepts submitted by the selected finalists and feedback from the UMD community. This NextGen Energy Program is the path to our clean energy future and builds on the university’s sustainability commitment and supports our efforts, immediately and in the future, to achieve the decarbonization of our energy system by 2035. 

The decarbonization of our energy system by 2035 is also consistent with the state of Maryland’s climate goals. 

The NextGen Energy Program is highly adaptable, allowing the University of Maryland to incorporate the new, high-efficiency technologies of today while providing flexibility to utilize the technologies of tomorrow.  

  • NextGen will invest in enhanced control and monitoring systems, which will strengthen energy conservation campus-wide.
  • NextGen will update the university’s distribution system to make heating and cooling campus buildings more efficient.

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.