In Spring 2011, the Office of Sustainability (formerly Office of Environmental Policy), collaborating with the School of Engineering and the Center for Clean Energy Engineering, engaged consultants from CT’s Center for Advanced Technology to begin a preliminary siting and feasibility study for installing various forms of on-campus renewable/sustainable energy generation. The process began with a survey of faculty members identified as having research interests in alternative energy and fuels. Respondents were then interviewed about their work, in order to identify likely candidates for creating demonstration and/or working-scale projects to showcase their work on the University grounds. Investigators working on geothermal, solar thermal, solar PV, wind turbine efficiency, fuel cells, biofuel, biomass, micro-grids, and smart building systems, were interviewed.
In addition to the interviews, and during the course of developing the Renewable Energy Strategic Plan, UConn convened two meetings of faculty and operational staff in order to update participants on progress with the plan and to:
- Ensure the alignment of academic and operational goals
- Encourage staff who occupy and manage potentially suitable host facilities to come forward
- Promote faculty grant applications for demonstration-scale renewable installations
- Identify and apply for other state and federal incentives
The Preliminary Feasibility Study and Strategic Deployment Plan for Renewable & Sustainable Energy Projects identifies and assesses target locations for the development of 12 demonstration-scale renewable and sustainable energy projects for the following technologies: solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, wind, fuel cells, geothermal, and biofuels. The development of renewable and sustainable energy projects at the University of Connecticut at Storrs will facilitate:
- Technology transfer
- Collaborative research into green energy sources and smart storage
- Reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG)
- Integrate environmental principles into the student’s learning experience
These clean and renewable energy technologies will reduce GHG emissions by displacing emissions associated with the use of fossil fuels for electric generation, thermal energy, and/or transportation. The deployment of renewable and sustainable energy technologies identified in this Plan is consistent with the implementation of The University of Connecticut Climate Action Plan. Furthermore, this Plan compliments and expands upon the potential development opportunities for renewable and sustainable energy technologies identified within the Preliminary Feasibility Study and Strategic Plan for the Depot Campus.