Production

Abbott Power Plant - StackUES is responsible for supplying the energy used on campus through production and purchasing. The university purchases about half of the electricity used on campus through Prairieland Energy, Inc. (PEI), a subsidiary wholly-owned by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. On-campus generation comes primarily from two sources – Abbott Power Plant, the Campus Chilled Water System (CCWS). Additionally, we have several renewable energy instllations throughout campus. As a cogeneration facility, Abbott Power Plant supplies 75% of the campus’ energy through generated steam and electricity, maintaining a careful balance between safety, reliability, sustainability, and cost-efficiency. During low campus demand for both heat and air conditioning, Abbott typically burns natural gas. During the winter months, when the campus heat load is highest, a combination of both coal and natural gas is necessary.

Extensive underground piping connects the majority of campus buildings to the five CCWS production plants. Twenty-three chillers (steam and electric) deliver the necessary chilled water to operate building air conditioning systems. A 6.5 million-gallon Thermal Energy Storage (TES) tank, built in 2010, can provide 50,000 ton-hours to help meet the cooling demand on campus.

F&S is very committed to renewable energy solutions for campus. There are currently seven operating solar installations, with a variety ranging from rooftop installations to multi-acre solar beds.

The largest solar array, referred to as Solar Farm 1.0, is a 21-acre site, located along the south side of Windsor Road, between First Street and the railroad tracks. D
esigned, built, and now operated by Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC, an estimated 7,200 megawatt-hours (MWh) are generated from this site annually. All the solar power and renewable energy credits (RECs) from Solar Farm 1.0 are purchased and used by the Urbana campus.

The university is now awaiting the completion of the campus' largest solar farm yet! Solar Farm 2.0, projected to be complete at the end of 2020, is a 54-acre, 12.1 megawatt (MWdc) solar farm located about half a mile south of Solar Farm 1.0. Solar Farm 2.0 is designed to generate around 20,000 megawatt-hours per year (MWh/year), which is the equivalent electricity of over 2,000 typical American homes. After reviewing 19 vendor submissions, the University Board of Trustees approved Sol Systems, LLC in September 2019 to oversee the entirety of the installation and operation throughout the twenty year contract term. To reduce delivery and transmission costs, Solar Farm 2.0 will be directly connected to the university's electrical grid, which will almost triple on-site renewable energy production.

UES published a Utilities Production and Distribution Master Plan that provides a comprehensive evaluation of campus energy purchasing, production, and distribution through FY49.