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Article | Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne receives 2014 DOE Sustainability Award

Argonne National Laboratory has been recognized with the 2014 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sustainability Award for its efforts towards meeting White House and DOE goals in energy performance contracting.

Notably, Argonne has secured a multimillion dollar Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) to fund its upcoming combined heat and power plant. The ESPC uses third-party financing and it allows energy savings from the power plant to offset the initial cost of the project. The plant is projected to produce an estimated $3 million in energy savings in the first year and more than $52.3 million in guaranteed savings over the 15-year ESPC contract term. The plant, which will run on natural gas, will also help reduce the laboratory’s carbon footprint, saving 33,044 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Argonne has a good history of using ESPCs to achieve savings at the laboratory, said Mike Dunn, deputy director of Argonne Facilities, Management and Services. This is the largest one we’ve done so far. Multiple smaller energy savings contracts—$5 to $10 million—have helped lead us to this point.”

NORESCO, an energy services company, will provide $22.6 million for the installation of Argonne’s new power plant building and equipment, as well as $18.7 million for operations, maintenance and repair. DOE will repay NORSECO approximately $3.5 million annually over the 15-year contract term using funds from the power plant’s energy savings. Argonne will retain the savings beyond that point.

The new plant will allow us to produce a portion of our own power and that’s good from a reliability standpoint,” said Dunn. Being independent from outside grid power protects us from potential service interruptions. That’s particularly important for our science and engineering facility, where we run experiments 24/7 on some of the most advanced equipment in the world.”

The new 6.3 megawatt power plant will replace aging equipment to provide electricity and steam heat for Argonne’s campus. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2015.