PITTSBURGH, PA (Sept. 15, 2015) Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are further positioning the region as a global leader in district energy production, through new partnerships that will improve existing infrastructure and possibly build out a new, 21st Century energy microgrid that will be a model for cities around the world.
Most cities rely on energy provided by power plants far outside their borders. Through the use of district energy cities can produce the energy they need on their own, and Pittsburgh is on the cusp of becoming a global model on how to build out municipal energy production, providing area businesses with efficient heat and power.
The Pittsburgh Allegheny County Thermal (PACT) board has signed a three-year contract with NRG to advise PACT on its district heating operations Downtown, and help position PACT to build upon the city’s groundbreaking cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy on district energy services. Furthermore, NRG has plans to build a district heating and cooling system for the Lower Hill and Uptown that would extend the city’s district energy offerings even more.
PACT represents a significant piece of infrastructure in Downtown Pittsburgh. The district heating it provides boasts higher energy efficiency and reduced emissions compared to individual building heating systems. And district energy systems such as PACT improve air quality and reduce costs for customers, providing a unique value proposition for Downtown real estate.
The move is in line with a memorandum of understanding signed July 17 between the City and the National Energy Technology Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy on joint efforts to design 21st Century energy infrastructure for Pittsburgh. It also follows the Pittsburgh region’s designation as an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, allowing it unique federal support for long-term economic development growth in regional manufacturing.
“The PACT Board's decision to hire NRG is a demonstration of the City's commitment to invest in our existing infrastructure, while supporting environmentally responsible growth and development. As key customers of the PACT thermal heating system, the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County know that growing and reinvesting in the system will be key to positioning our region as a leader in 21st Century energy development and manufacturing,” Mayor William Peduto said.
A cleaner energy future requires investing in existing assets like PACT to improve building energy performance and enhance the service delivery of the city’s utility network, and other utilities are making critical upgrades to their own systems as well. Working with partners such as NRG and PACT is an extension of these efforts, and will moreover help to support the growing energy demands in Downtown, offering both economic value and a better environment.
Through further work by NRG, the city is also positioned to grow a district energy grid from the North Shore through Downtown to the Hill District that would be one of the largest such municipal district energy sites in the nation.
NRG Energy, (NYSE: NRG) owns and operates a district energy system in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Center neighborhood that provides chilled water, steam and hot water to customers from a central plant. The company has plans to eventually add CHP—Combined Heat and Power—creating what is essentially a microgrid.
NRG recently signed a three-year agreement with PACT to assist in modernizing the PACT District Energy system, providing cost-effective and reliable steam for decades to come. PACT is a customer-owned Co-Op that currently serves many of the largest buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh. NRG will develop a master plan that will optimize PACT’s steam district energy system and grow the business. The NRG/PACT initiative supports Mayor Peduto’s vision to significantly expand district energy throughout Pittsburgh, improving energy efficiency and lowering the City’s carbon footprint.
NRG is also supporting the Mayor’s vision of efficient, centralized energy with preliminary plans for a new district heating and cooling system that will serve the Lower Hill section of uptown Pittsburgh. Under one possible scenario, NRG would design and develop a central heating and cooling system that would also include Combined Heat and Power.
Office of Mayor William Peduto
Senior Director, Communications, and Spokesman
NRG East Region and NRG Energy Centers
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
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