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University Supplies Own Electricity

January 14, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

UCThe University of California will begin directly supplying electricity to its campuses and medical centers this month. Last year, UC became a registered Electric Service Provider (ESP), allowing its Wholesale Power Program to serve as the primary energy supplier, under direct access rules, to UC Irvine and its medical center, UC San Diego and its medical center, UC San Francisco and its medical center, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced and a number of other accounts throughout the university.

Throughout January, UC will discontinue its relationship with the incumbent electricity supplier and begin to provide electric power directly to the five above-named campuses and three medical centers, along with other electric accounts throughout the university.

According to UC, making this switch will give it more control over the type of energy it buys and provide it with more price transparency. UC staff estimate the change also could trim the university’s power bills by as much as 10 percent in 2015.

Mark Byron, who oversees UC’s Wholesale Power Program, said 25 percent of the energy will be procured from two suppliers of renewables (wind and geothermal), and 75 percent will come off the grid via California ISO.

In September 2013, UC signed two 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Frontier Renewables to provide its campuses and medical centers with a total of 80 MW of solar photovoltaic energy. But those two power plants won’t be built until 2017, said Byron.

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