Public Utilities

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Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) presented University of California Riverside (UCR) Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Associate Vice Chancellor Mike Miller with a $1 million incentive payment for the university’s latest addition to its Thermal Energy Storage system at their Board of Public Utilities meeting November 1.

UCR is the Riverside-based public utility’s largest energy customer, and the two have worked closely via mutually beneficial contracts for more than a decade.

“This ongoing partnership between two of Riverside’s key public service organizations continues to provide valuable benefits for the university, our city, and our customers,” said RPU Interim General Manager Steve Badgett.

RPU incentives have been used to support the construction of a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system on the UCR campus. The TES system allows for the accumulation and storage of chilled water that is used to cool the campus’s academic buildings during peak energy-use hours. The TES system allows the campus to shift up to 10 megawatts (MW) per hour of power demand from peak energy use time (noon to 6:00 p.m.) to off peak time (after 6:00 p.m. to early morning). One megawatt is enough energy to power about 650 homes.

Currently, the campus has two TES tanks with a combined capacity of 4.6 million gallons. A third, 2 million gallon tank is under construction and will be operational prior to the spring of 2014. This additional capacity is adequate to support the cooling requirements of anticipated campus growth for the next several years.

The energy savings not only add up for UCR, but for RPU as well. The University already complies with mandatory energy load curtailments when needed by the utility to maintain service commitments within the city and to the state power grid operator. When completed, the newly expanded TES system will help UCR shed an additional 2.53 MW of peak electricity that the utility can use to maintain its energy delivery reliability.

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