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Pittsburgh Embarks on District Energy Plan

July 21, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

Pitts1The city of Pittsburgh signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US Department of Energy to develop a clean energy plan focused on district energy systems.

DOE’s local branch of its National Energy Technology Laboratory will share resources and guide university researchers in crafting a long-term plan for district energy, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

City and county officials had been discussing how to upgrade the Pittsburgh Allegheny County Thermal steam plant, which supplies more than 50 downtown buildings with steam heat, and those talks grew into a larger discussion about expanding district heat to more of the city. The city’s strategy is to optimize existing systems and infrastructure and to support infill development to connect to existing systems. New district energy systems will also be considered.

The MOU lays out the following goals:

  • Identifying the appropriate financial mechanism to provide a catalyst and underwrite investment in the design and construction for district energy systems, adoption of monitoring and automation technologies, advanced intelligent infrastructure, and renewable energy deployment;
  • Designing a policy plan that supports the development of municipal, utility and regulatory needs for district energy applications and infrastructure modernization;
  • Conducting economic analysis that presents cost/benefits of district energy solutions with micro-grid integration and building performance policies;
  • Accelerating the growth of and access to energy jobs;
  • Forming a technical team to explore Pittsburgh’s efforts; and
  • Preparing a technology research and development roadmap for rapid demonstration and deployment.

Pittsburgh

Photo credit: Margaret J. Kraus, 90.5 WESA

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