University energy plant to be expanded

Madlin Mekelburg

The University will install a new energy plant by 2016 to support the needs of the Dell Medical School.

Juan Ontiveros, executive director of Utilities and Energy Management, said the new plant will be connected to the existing system.

“We’re designing a new state of the art plant that’s going to complement the one we built in 2008,” Ontiveros said. “We believe that’s going to allow us to continue this trend of efficiently delivering energy.”

According to Ontiveros, the new plant is being installed in order to provide adequate energy resources to the medical school, but it will also benefit the rest of the University.

“It’s not just only going to serve the medical school,” Ontiveros said. “It is designed to meet the energy needs of the medical school, but efficiency in any form is really good and will complement the campus.”

Designs for the new plant are only about halfway finished, but should be complete by June of 2016, Ontiveros said. The new plant will most likely increase the cost of energy at UT, according to Ontiveros, but he said he did not have an exact prediction for the amount increase.

Ontiveros provided estimations for the current average daily costs for different months throughout the fall semester by selecting a typical day from each month and developing an average based on typical energy usage within a particular month.

“Cooling in September is like half of our electrical costs,” Ontiveros said. “December is a good month…In December and over the Christmas holidays, we’re just trying to keep the buildings from freezing.”

According to Ontiveros’ calculations, the University spends approximately $165,531 on an average September day compared to roughly $121,288 over the entirety of winter break.