California State University San Marcos will move to a more efficient cooling system by next summer, thanks to funding from the California Public Utility Commission. At the request of the PUC, the University of California and California State University systems submitted projects from all campuses. Tom Blair, Director of Facilities and Campus Energy Manager, submitted two projects to reduce peak electrical load and total electricity used on campus. Both projects were approved and will receive $875,000 in funding. "We're the only campus in the San Diego Gas & Electric service region that received funding," he says.
The campus will work with SDG&E and Enron Energy Services to develop a thermal energy storage (TES) system by June 2001. Blair says the new system will allow the campus to turn off "electric chillers" during the day, when energy prices and usage are highest, and instead make cold water at night to pump through the system during the day. The TES system is in the university's master energy plan, developed in 1993. The PUC funding allows the system to come on-line several years ahead of schedule. "I'm pleased that we can implement this new system to shift our usage profile toward greater efficiency," Blair says.
He also credits an energy contract with Enron for keeping the university's electricity costs down during the current energy crisis. "Our monthly energy bill right now is around $70,000 and on a peak hourly basis, we use 1.6 megawatts of power on campus," Blair says. Three years ago, both the CSU and UC systems negotiated a four-year contract through a public bid process and selected Enron as the systems' energy provider, according to Blair. The contract established a five percent savings, using a fixed energy cost, which keeps electricity prices for the campus stable. "Without that, our costs would have doubled," says Blair.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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