University Students Rely on Clean Energy Microgrid | Atmos Energy

University Students Rely on Clean Energy Microgrid

April 21, 2021

Combined heat and power (CHP) is an efficient and clean approach to generating electric power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source, typically natural gas. The heat created from producing electricity, which is often wasted in a conventional planthere is captured and turned into steam or hot water that can be used for space heating, cooling, domestic hot water, and industrial processes. A 2016 Department of Energy study cited CHP as a clean energy solution that has benefits including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy operating costs, in addition to increasing energy efficiency up to 75 percent when compared to electricity from the grid.  

CHP is utilized in a variety of industrial facilities and commercial buildings to simultaneously supply electricity and provide thermal loads. CHP can also be integrated into district energy systems utilized by colleges, hospitals, downtown areas, and other campus-type facilities. A district energy system is a centralized facility that generates steam and hot and cold water that is piped through an underground network to buildings for space heating, air conditioning, and other energy needs. 


Atmos Energy and Mississippi State University (MSU) teamed up with developer Greystar and Blue Sky Power to build College View Apartments. This innovative 130-unit student housing complex utilizes CHP technology to generate clean electricity that’s powered by an onsite natural gas generator to provide electricity, hot water, and heating to all units. This clean energy infrastructure, known as the MSU Clean Energy Microgrid, will generate reliable and resilient energy with the ability to operate fully independent of the city’s electric grid. It also significantly reduces operating expenses by relying on a centralized electric and thermal energy system fueled by affordable natural gas. MSU will save approximately $116,000 every year in electric utility costs and will reduce COemissions by more than 827 tons annually – the equivalent emissions of 162 passenger vehicles. This CHP project is the first in Mississippi for use in apartments, and MSU is already planning the next phase of this development. 

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