CLEMSON — Clemson University will take the next several weeks to conduct a thorough evaluation of all appropriate campus sites upon which to locate a natural gas combined heat and power (CHP) facility to be constructed by Duke Energy Carolinas.

The university committed to the review in light of concerns from residents near the originally proposed site on the eastern edge of campus near the Clemson Armory, as well as others in the community. The review, which has begun, is not expected to delay completion of the facility, which is scheduled to become operational in spring of 2019.

“Clemson values its relationship with the city and region and is taking seriously the questions raised by residents,” said Brett Dalton, executive vice president for Finance and Operations. “Construction of this highly efficient facility is vital to meeting the long-term power needs of the university in a way that also allows Clemson to reduce its carbon footprint. At the same time, the university is committed to working with its partner Duke Energy to locate and build the facility in a manner that takes into account the impact on local residents, as well as the needs of the university.”

The site review will include careful examination of the technical requirements to build the facility, proximity to existing Duke Energy electrical transmission infrastructure, the potential future land use needs of the university and impact on the community, among other considerations.

“Construction of this facility represents a complex engineering and logistical challenge, and we intend to be deliberate and thoughtful in our approach to finding a location that best meets the needs of the university and the community, and which does so at a reasonable cost,” Dalton said.

When completed, the $51 million facility will have the capacity to generate 16-megawatts of electrical power to help meet the future power needs of the university and the surrounding area. In addition, the CHP will capture waste heat from the production of electricity to produce thermal energy that Duke will sell to Clemson to be used to heat buildings and water on campus.

The facility is expected to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the area by 60,000 metric tons a year, or the equivalent of removing 12,700 passenger vehicles from the road each year. The CHP is an important next step in the university’s plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and is consistent with the university’s ongoing efforts to become carbon neutral by 2030, despite an expected significant increase in demand for power over that period.