Campus coal plants

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of coal plants

For a full list of campus coal plants, go to Existing campus coal plants.

Clean Air Act Requirements for Campuses

In 2004, new regulations were enacted affecting as many as 100 coal-fired boilers on 60 college campuses, among more than 3,000 coal-fired industrial boilers nationwide[1][2]. The regulation -- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, or Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) -- is intended to reduce hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) by controlling particulate matter, hydrochloric acid and mercury. It was scheduled to take effect in February, 2007; however, that deadline was extended to September 2008.[1][3]

Divestment Movement

2010 Swarthmore College

Along with student backlash against campuses directly powered by coal-fired plants, there has recently been a campaign for universities to drop their stocks from the fossil fuel industry. This began in 2010 at Swarthmore College when students became infuriated by systemic inaction at the federal and state level against mountaintop removal mining practices. They decided to target their board of trustees, arguing that it is morally wrong to invest money in companies that destroy mountains and pollute the air, water and land. Since 2011, thousands of students, religious leaders and elected city officials across the country have taken up the same logic, leveraging divestiture as a tactic to target the reputation of the fossil fuel industry, whose business model relies on mining and burning five times more carbon than scientists agree is safe to burn to avert runaway climate change.[4]

Campus Coal Plant Descriptions

Ball State University

In February 2009, Ball State University's Board of Trustees approved a proposal to phase out the campus's four existing coal-fired boilers and replace them with geothermal energy. The phased conversion will take place over a five to ten year period with a total cost of about $70 million. The university is seeking state approval to use $41.8 million in existing funds, which were originally designated for replacement of the coal-fired boilers, to develop the geothermal system.[5]


A Bucknell University website reports:

"A decade ago, the University converted its coal-fired power plant to a highly efficient co-generation plant fueled by cleaner-burning natural gas. The plant now generates 95 percent of the electricity consumed on campus and in off-peak times actually distributes electricity to the power grid. It also captures the heat from the combustion process and converts it to steam used to heat much of campus. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from the plant are 45 percent below the pre-1998 level. All of the electricity the University purchases from outside sources comes from only wind power."[6]

College of Wooster

The College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio, runs a 375 kW coal-fired cogeneration facility. The facility - a topping cycle, backpressure turbine driving an induction generator set - was converted to cogeneration in 1992, and now produces both electricity and steam for the campus. Wooster's cogeneration system produces about 1,280 MWh of electricity per year.[7]

Cornell University

Main article: Cornell University Central Heating Plant

According to Cornell, coal use at the campus heating plant that "has powered the campus for generations" will be cut in half due to the addition of an $82 million, 30 megawatt cogneration facility, expected to be completed in the fall of 2009. The new facility will generate power using natural gas, while recycling the heat produced in the process.[8]

In early 2010, the university stated that approximately 20 per cent of it's electricity was derived from coal fuel but that it it intends to eliminate coal in 2011, which would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 28%.[9]

Denison University

Main article: Denison University Plant

Denison University in Granville, Ohio, uses coal from southern Ohio and natural gas in its central heating plant to provide steam for heating buildings, domestic hot water, and cooking in its dining halls. In Fiscal Year 2010-2011, the university burned 4,130 tons of bituminous coal costing $333,020 and producing an estimated 21 million pounds of carbon dioxide. According to facilities director Arthur Chonko,the university has estimated that it would cost approximately $750,000 to $1,000,000 per year to switch to natural gas using the current plant. The university is currently studying alternatives including combined heat and power (CHP).[10] In 2014, the university plant completed the switch from coal to natural gas.[11]

Duke University

Located off Coal Pile Drive, Duke University's West Campus Steam Plant burns 54,000 tons of coal annually from mines in West Virgina and Kentucky. The plant also burns oil and natural gas. The plant was built in 1929 and produces 1.3 billion pounds of steam per year. The plant has three boilers and is equipped with baghouses that reduce soot and ash by 97.3 percent, according to officials. According to school officials, Duke will spend $4.5 million to add “lime scrubbers” to the system that will remove gases and heavy metals. These improvements keep the plant in or ahead of environmental compliance requirements. The plant produces 8,000 tons of ash per year.[12] In 2008, Duke approved a $20 million revovation of the East Campus Steam Plant, was built in 1929 and closed in 1978. When that renovation is completed, the East Campus Steam Plant will produce steam with natural gas, and the West Campus Steam Plant will reduce its coal use by 70 percent.[13][14] According to Tavey Capps, the University's environmental sustainability coordinator, Duke intends to stop burning coal altogether in the next five to ten years, "depending on the economic environment."[15]

Eastern Illinois University Plant

Main article: Eastern Illinois University Plant

Eastern Illinois University Plant is a coal-fired plant built in 1925. In 2009 the University submitted permits for a new biomass facility to replace the coal plant, including possible wind turbines. The new plant will be a “biomass gasifier” that will fill University heating and cooling needs by burning nontreated wood chips obtained as lumber industry by-products. The proposal is the largest project in campus history in terms of the dollar amount.[16]

Hampton University

In May 2009, Hampton University in Virginia announced a proposal to replace its coal-powered steam plant with a geothermal heating and cooling system. School officials filed a request for $15 million state energy grant. The project has an estimated cost of $35 million. The steam plant was built in 1886 and renovated in 1946. The conversion would eliminate approximately 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.[17]

Indiana University coal plant‎

Indiana University

IU's Central Heating Plant, which heats 110 buildings, began in 1955 with two coal-fired burners, added two more boilers in 1960, a fifth in 1965 and a sixth in 1970. In the 1990s, two boilers were converted to natural gas.[3] The Bloomington Herald Times reported that emissions at the plant were as follows in 2005:[3]

  • 1,331 tons of sulfur dioxide.
  • 385 tons of nitrogen oxides.
  • 76 tons of fine particulate matter, or soot.
  • Almost two tons of volatile organic compounds.

The 68,000 yearly tons of coal used at the plant is mined by Peabody Energy, which trucks the fly ash from the plant back to mine sites.[3] In 2005, at the prompting of the state legislature, IU studied outsourcing the heating operation but rejected the idea as more expensive than retaining the coal-fired plant. The university also concluded that switching to natural gas would increase fuel costs by $12 million to $15 million a year.[3] In 2007 the university undertook at $34 million project to replace two 1950s-era coal boilers with natural gas, and to add scrubbing technology (lime and activated carbon injection) that would sulfur dioxide emissions by 45% and mercury emissions by 50%. According to university officials, the project would meet the requirements of MACT.[3]

A university website describes the IU coal plant as follows: "The coal plant at the Indiana University Bloomington campus burns 60,000 tons of coal each year. It is all stoker-grade Indiana coal with moderate sulfur content burned at 11,200 Btu per pound. The plant generates steam for heating, cooling, and processes, such as cooking or for research uses."[18]

In January 2012 Coal Free IU launched a three-day campaign to alert students about the negative effects of the coal plant on their campus.

Members will protested IU’s use of coal by spelling out the words “no coal” in an aerial art display in front of the coal plant on campus. The group also sponsored Thursday’s IU vs. Minnesota men’s basketball game. The week of action culminated in the delivery of more than 5,000 petitions to IU President Michael McRobbie that urged him to end the use of coal at the school.[19]

Iowa State University (Ames)

Main article: Iowa State University Power Plant

Iowa State University Power Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Iowa State University on Iowa State campus in Ames, Iowa.The plant uses 155,000 tons of coal and generates 28,000 tons of coal ash per year.[20] In April 2009 students from Environmental Watchdog and ActivUs along with several faculty members protested the plant, calling on the University to run the plant on renewables. According to Assistant Director of Utilities Jeff Witt, coal will be part of the system for the foreseeable future, but the University is making steps toward supplementing the coal with other forms of energy over the coming years, such as purchasing up five megawatts of power from a wind farm near Ames, roughly equal to 7 to 8 percent of campus demand.[20] According to a report in Sierra Magazine: "The SSC [Sierra Student Coalition] is campaigning against the three [Iowa] schools' practice of depositing their coal ash in unlined quarries; the fear is that its many toxic components will leach into local aquifers. Last year, student pressure led to voluntary groundwater-monitoring programs, but coal-waste policies remain unchanged.[21]

  • Name: Iowa State University Power Plant
  • Location: Wallace Rd., Ames, IA 50011 (just N of Lied Recreation Facility)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (secondary)
  • Capacity: 46.0 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1960, 1970, 1978, 2005
  • Electricity Production: 155,874 MWh (2005)
  • CO2 Emissions: 335,222 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 2,061 tons (2002)


Lynchburg College

Main article: Lynchburg College Plant

Lynchburg College in Virginia has a central heating plant built in 1909[25] that uses coal.[26] Lynchburg has signed onto the "American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment "American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment", but as of January 2010 campus efforts are focused on issues such as recycling and litter removal, not lowering greenhouse gas emissions.[27]

Miami University

Main article: Miami University Plant

Miami University's Steam Plant in Oxford, Ohio, is located behind Peabody Hall on Western campus, and supplies the University with all of its steam through burning coal. In October 2007 the University spent $17 million to comply with tightening emissions legislation within the EPA's Clean Air Act, such as installing scrubbers to lessen sulfur dioxide emissions.[28]

To dispose of waste from the plant, the University has been talking to a company called N-Viro about taking fly ash from the burnt coal and mixing it with coal sludge to form a fertilizer for farmers.[28] The EPA is currently considering whether to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste.[29]

Students have formed the Miami University Copenhagen Committee to urge the school to transition away from coal and lessen its greenhouse gas emissions.[30] University officials say coal is used because it is cheaper.[28]

On April 4, 2011, Miami University President David Hodge announced the official sustainability goal of the University includes the gradual phase out of burning coal with a target sunset date of 2025.[31]

Morehead State, Kentucky

In the fall of 2008, President Andrews reported that the college had received $6 million from the state legislature to replace the environmental controls at the central heating plant, and that the work was underway.[32]

Northern Michigan University

see Northern Michigan University Ripley Heating Plant

Ohio University

Main article: Ohio University Lausche Heating Plant
  • Name: Lausche Heating Plant
  • Location: Factory St., Athens, OH 45701 (just NE of Pruitt Field)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (secondary)
  • Capacity: 1 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1994
  • Electricity Production: 98 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 294 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A

Project Description:

"The Hocking Valley ACG-CHP Facility addresses many of the goals and objectives of the Clean Coal Power Initiative. As a combined heat and power system using coal, it offers the potential to achieve a greater level of overall energy efficiency, lower energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions. The gasification system use 100%coal and will increase the University’s coal use by nearly 300% in providing heat and power to the campus,while significantly reducing the emissions of SO2 and NOx compared to Ohio University’s current stoker-boilers. By using oxygen-blown gasification, carbon dioxide will be a richer fraction of the gas stream, eliminating the cost of nitrogen separation in the hot flue gas, making potential capture and later sequestration possible. By incorporating a fuel cell into the system, the potential for high-efficiency, low-cost heat power may be realized.[33]

In March 2011, the Ohio University administration made a promise not to consider coal as an energy source for a new heating plant. The administration has said that it must replace the Lausche facility by the year 2016, as the useful life of its boilers draws to a close.[34]

Pennsylvania State University

  • Name: West Campus Steam Plant
  • Location: West Park Ave. and North Burrowes St., State College, PA 16803
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Year(s) Built: 1929
  • Electricity Production: ca. 20,000 MWh
  • CO2 Emissions: ca. 20,000 tons/year
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A

Penn State's West Campus Steam Plant consumes about 7,500 tons of coal per year, and produces about 20,000 MWh per year, or 7% of the campus's electricity demand - as well as about 175 tons of steam per hour, which is used for heating campus buildings. Built in 1929, the plant holds four boilers, and burns coal from Clarion County, Pennsylvania. (Several solar panels on the roof of the Office of Physical Plant building only produce enough electricity to power several rooms within that building.)

Penn State buys 89% of its electricity from Allegheny Energy, which in turn gets 95% of its electricity production from coal-fired power plants. In an interview in 2003, Paul Ruskin, the spokesperson for the Office of Physical Plant, stated that "we would like to have totally non-polluting sources, but they're not out there yet."[35][36][37]

On January 21, 2011 Penn State announced that they would be converting their steam plant to burn natural gas. Burns and McDonnell was awarded a contract of $25 million to $35 million to convert the college's coal-fired steam plant to natural gas in a move university officials stated would reduce carbon emissions. The university has been considering its options for upgrading the coal-fired plant since 2009 in anticipation of stiffer EPA regulations.[38]

Purdue University

Main article: Purdue University Wade Utility Plant
  • Name: Wade Utility Plant
  • Location: 423 S. Grant St., West Lafayette, IN 47907
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (secondary), distillate fuel oil (secondary)
  • Capacity: 43.2 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1969, 1995, 2000
  • Electricity Production: 308,506 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 473,091 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A

[22] [23] [24]

Expansion plans canceled

On February 3, 2011, the Purdue University Board of Trustees voted to cancel the $53 million Wade Utility Plant expansion based on financial and regulatory concerns. According to vice president of physical facilities Bob McMains, the estimated increase in fuels costs along with expected future regulations for coal waste made the expansion unworkable. School officials plan to install a natural gas boiler rather than a coal boiler to replace the existing 50-year-old Boiler No. 1. a resolution in February 2011 canceling plans to add a new boiler.[39]

Southeast Missouri State University

Main article: Southeast Missouri State University Physical Plant
  • Name: Southeast Missouri State Univ. Physical Plant
  • Location: Cheney Dr. and Henderson Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 (just N of Academic Hall)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal
  • Capacity: 6.2 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1972
  • Electricity Production: 20,824 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 61,472 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 89 tons (1999)


Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

In May, 2007, Mattie Reitman wrote:

Students at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale are concerned. Their school has the prize of being the only campus in the U.S. to have an active proposal for a coal-fired power plant. Led in part by a member of the Student Environmental Action Coalition’s National Council, Kandace Vallejo, the SIUC’s Student Environmental Center is standing up to the administration’s interest in investing $250 million student dollars in coal.Kandace says (from the heart of Illinois coal country), “I feel like investing the money in more coal technology is almost pointless, because within the next 100 years this entire country is going to have to transfer over to 100 percent clean and sustainable energy. We’re just going to run out of coal and oil.” And they won’t be alone - SEAC and the Energy Justice Network will be supporting the resistance. Hopefully this proposal, along with 200+ others similar to it across the country, will fall to the favor of conservation, efficiency, renewables, and simple common sense.[40]

In March, 2008, Reitman reported victory:

"Following an ongoing story, we’ve got another notch in our belts and another victory against coal. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, the only campus in the country with an active proposal for a coal-fired power plant, has canceled its plans. University President Glenn Poshard said a study suggests the plant would be too expensive. The Student Environmental Center at SIU played a role in this victory. A monthly column by an SEC member recently highlighted the problems with “clean coal”, while the SEC’s Eco-Dawgs green fee campaign has been making great advances towards sustainability on campus.[41]

University of Alaska at Fairbanks

Main article: UA Fairbanks Power Plant
  • Name: Ben J. Atkinson Power Plant
  • Location: 802 Alumni Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99709
  • Energy Source: Subbituminous coal (primary), distillate fuel oil (primary and secondary)
  • Capacity: 22.6 MW (of which 13 MW are coal-fired)
  • Year(s) Built: 1964, 1981, 2000
  • Electricity Production: 58,212 MWh (2005)
  • CO2 Emissions: 124,667 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 247 tons (1999)

The September/October 2010 issue of Sierra Magazine reported: "The SSC [Sierra Student Coalition] joined forces this year with the student group UAF Beyond Coal. Students there are pressing the existing sustainability task force to study renewable alternatives to coal."[21]

University of Georgia

Main article: UG Athens Power Plant
  • Name: Steam plant
  • Location: Cedar Street and East Campus Road, Athens, GA 30602
  • Energy Source: 14,000 tons bituminous coal / year (secondary), natural gas (primary)
  • Capacity: Steam use only
  • Year(s) Built: 1966
  • Electricity Production: none
  • CO2 Emissions: N/A
  • SO2 Emissions: 266 tons (2008)
  • NOx Emissions: 77 tons (2008)


The University of Georgia has four steam units to for heating, cooling, hospital sterilization and other uses. Three units are fired by natural gas and one is fired by coal. The coal unit has a bag-house filtration system, installed in 1992 to eliminate particulate emissions; an over-fire air system, installed in 2004 to cut nitrogen oxide emissions in half; and an air scrubber system installed two years ago to neutralize hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride gases by 80 percent, according to university officials. [43]

In April 2011, officials at the University of Georgia said they would shut down the university's 45-year-old coal-fired steam boiler. They are considering alternatives, including biomass and solar. [44] However, in October 2011, the Sierra Student Coalition’s Beyond Coal campaign said they were frustrated by the lack of progress at UGA. [45]

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Main article: University of Illinois Abbott Power Plant
  • Name: Abbott Power Plant
  • Location: 1117 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820 (just NE of soccer fields)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (primary & secondary), distillate fuel oil (secondary)
  • Capacity: 85.0 MW (of which 47.0 MW are coal-fired)
  • Year(s) Built: 1940, 1948, 1951, 1959, 1962, 2003, 2004
  • Electricity Production: 193,368 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 458,840 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A

Sharita Forrest recounts the history of the Abbott Power Plant:[46]

Since Abbott was built in 1941, the fuel source for the plant’s boilers has changed several times as the university sought to operate the plant as economically as possible. Abbott’s boilers were all fired by coal when the plant began operating in 1941, but in the early 1970s the campus discontinued burning coal and switched to natural gas, which was to be provided by Illinois Power Co. But when Illinois Power didn’t receive a sufficient allocation to meet the UI’s energy needs, Abbott had to burn fuel oil instead.
In 1978, Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson asked the UI to convert Abbott back to coal to boost the state’s coal industry by demonstrating that the high-sulfur coal mined in Illinois could be burned safely. The plant uses electrostatic precipitators to remove particulates and a wet scrubber to remove potentially hazardous sulfur dioxide, which can cause respiratory problems, from the plant’s flue gases before they are released into the atmosphere. “The wet scrubber technology that we have for flue gas scrubbing is one of, if not the, best available today, and it has been in place for about 20 years,” Larson said.

On Jan. 26, 2001, an explosion and fire at the Abbott Power Plant caused the plant to be shut down for most of the day, shutting off power to three-quarters of campus. Classes were cancelled for the day, and most employees were sent home.[47]

University of Iowa

Main article: University of Iowa Power Plant
  • Name: University of Iowa Power Plant
  • Location: 207 West Burlington St., Iowa City, IA 52242 (just E of the Iowa River)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), distillate fuel oil (primary), biomass (secondary)
  • Capacity: 22.7 MW (of which 21.0 MW are coal-fired)
  • Year(s) Built: 1947, 1956, 1974, 1998
  • Electricity Production: 124,048 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 304,369 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 4,936 tons (1999)

According to a report in Sierra Magazine: "The SSC [Sierra Student Coalition] is campaigning against the three [Iowa] schools' practice of depositing their coal ash in unlined quarries; the fear is that its many toxic components will leach into local aquifers. Last year, student pressure led to voluntary groundwater-monitoring programs, but coal-waste policies remain unchanged.[21]

University of Kentucky

University of Missouri at Columbia

Main article: University of Missouri-Columbia Power Plant
  • Name: MU Power Plant
  • Location: 417 South Fifth St., Columbia, MO 65201
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (primary & secondary), distillate fuel oil (primary & secondary)
  • Capacity: 91.1 MW (of which 53.0 MW are coal-fired)
  • Year(s) Built: 1961, 1974, 1986, 1988, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2005
  • Electricity Production: 118,666 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 353,166 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Main article: UNC Chapel Hill Cogeneration Facility
  • Name: UNC Cogeneration Facility
  • Location: 501 West Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill, NC 27516
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (secondary)
  • Capacity: 28 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1991
  • Electricity Production: 207,867 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 312,075 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 224 tons (1999)

School officials pledged in 2007 to reduce the college's CO2 emissions by 60 percent by 2050. Not satisfied with the goal, students with Coal-Free UNC began pushing for a goal of zero emissions by 2015. After a reassessment of the university's previous goal, Chancellor Holden Thorp agreed in May 2010 to phase out coal completely by 2020 and to get 20 percent of the campus's energy from bio-fuels by 2015. On May 4, 2011, Thorp announced UNC would end coal use within in the next decade. “Universities must lead the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy,” Thorp said. The first step was to start co-firing coal with biomass in 2011, replacing 20 percent of coal with biomass no later than 2015, and moving towards natural gas and renewable energy. [49] Coal-Free UNC continues to advocate a boycott of coal from mountaintop-removal mines. [21]

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota Steam Plant

Built in 1909, UND's steam generating plant consumes 7 boxcars (20 semi loads) of coal per day, feeding pressurized steam into a 13-mile network of pipes. The plant is located at 251 Centennial Drive, across from the Carnegie Building.[50]

University of Northern Iowa

Main article: University of Northern Iowa Power Plant
  • Name: University of Northern Iowa Power Plant
  • Location: 30th St. and Nebraska St., Cedar Falls, IA 50614
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), petroleum coke (secondary)
  • Capacity: 7.5 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1982
  • Electricity Production: 26,205 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 78,615 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 2,185 tons (1999)

According to a report in Sierra Magazine: "The SSC [Sierra Student Coalition] is campaigning against the three [Iowa] schools' practice of depositing their coal ash in unlined quarries; the fear is that its many toxic components will leach into local aquifers. Last year, student pressure led to voluntary groundwater-monitoring programs, but coal-waste policies remain unchanged.[21]

University of Notre Dame

Main article: University of Notre Dame Power Plant
  • Name: University of Notre Dame Power Plant
  • Location: Old Juniper Rd. and Holy Cross Dr., South Bend, IN 46617 (just N of Haggar Hall)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), distillate fuel oil (primary), natural gas (secondary)
  • Capacity: 23.1 MW (of which 21.1 MW are coal-fired)
  • Year(s) Built: 1952, 1956, 1962, 1967, 2000
  • Electricity Production: 57,575 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 172,725 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 8,277 tons (1999)


University of Richmond (VA)

GreenUR members held a "die-in" Oct. 20 to protest use of coal at the University of Richmond. [51]

University of Tennessee

University of Virginia

On Oct. 26, 2011, about 70 UVA students held a “Camp Out for Clean Energy." Students presented petitions to university President Teresa A. Sullivan. [52][53]

University of Wisconsin at Madison

See Charter Street Heating Plant

Vanderbilt University

Main article: Vanderbilt Steam Plant
Vanderbilt coal plant
  • Name: Vanderbilt Steam Plant
  • Location: Bryan Building, 24th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37232
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (primary)
  • Capacity: 21.4 MW (of which 11.0 MW are coal-fired)
  • Year(s) Built: 1988, 1989, 2002
  • Electricity Production: 29,814 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 89,441 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A

Vanderbilt's coal plant has three boilers. The plant produces electricity and provides heating and cooling to 5.8 million square feet of campus facilities. The plant receives its coal from eastern Kentucky. Vanderbilt sells fly ash from the plant to a mulch company.[54]

A German student studying at Vanderbilt told a student publication that one of his biggest surprises was “the incredible amount of energy Americans use every day. I arrived in July, when it was really hot outside,” he recalls, “but inside the buildings on campus, it was so cold I needed a sweater."

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Beyond Coal rally November 18, 2009
  • Name: Virginia Tech Power Plant
  • Location: Sterrett Facilities Complex, Blacksburg, VA 24061
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary)
  • Capacity: 6.5 MW, 440,000 pounds steam/hour
  • Year(s) Built: 1975
  • Electricity Production: N/A
  • CO2 Emissions: N/A
  • SO2 Emissions: N/A

The Virginia Tech Electric Service is an auxiliary of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. It receives most of its electricity from American Electric Power but also operates a coal-fired cogenerating power plant that generates steam as well as 6250 kilowatts of power.[55] The power plant dates to 1901; it was moved to its current location in 1930. In 1970 the original four boilers were replaced with boilers five through nine. Boiler ten then replaced boiler five. Boilers seven through ten were upgraded to higher steam pressure in the mid-1970s. Boiler eleven was added in 1997, including a scrubber and a baghouse. Boiler seven was equipped with a scrubber and a baghouse in 2007.[56] Coal power at $4.24 per million BTU is far cheaper than natural gas at $15/mmBTU, but wood and poultry waste might be cheaper at $3.07 and $3.38 per million BTU, according to a Dec. 2005 study. [57]

Virginia Power Shift held rally to move Virginia Tech to clean energy on Oct. 2, 2011. [58] Other student groups have also rallied against campus coal plants around the state, citing Tech as a major problem. [59] [60]

West Virginia University

Main article: Morgantown Energy Facility (WV)
  • Name: Morgantown Energy Facility
  • Location: 555 Beechurst Ave., Morgantown, WV 26505 (about 1/4 mile NW of campus)
  • Energy Source: Waste coal (primary), bituminous coal (secondary)
  • Capacity: 68.9 MW
  • Year(s) Built: 1991
  • Electricity Production: 420,307 MWh (2007)
  • CO2 Emissions: 652,572 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 850 tons (2002)

The Morgantown Energy Facility - a 69-MW coal-fired cogeneration plant - supplies steam to West Virginia University, and supplies electricity both to the university and to other customers. The plant was built in 1991, and runs on "gob" (waste) coal. It is owned by Morgantown Energy Associates, which in turn is almost entirely owned by Dominion.[61]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Breck Washam and Robin Mills Ridgway, "Boiling Over," American School and University, November 1, 2004
  2. "College Campuses Continue to Leave Coal Behind" Reuters, November 11, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Steve Hinnefeld, "Power plant upgrade to reduce emissions," Bloomington Herald Times, June 3, 2007
  4. "Student fossil fuel divestment movement pushes national climate debate" The Daily Californian, July 15, 2013
  5. "Going geothermal; university plans to install the largest system in the country," Ball State University, February 6, 2009.
  6. "'Climate Commitment' signed, green steps announced," Bucknell press release, 2/1/08
  7. College of Wooster Cogeneration System, District Energy Library, University of Rochester, accessed March 2009.
  8. Rebecca James, "Cornell's 82 million plant puts coal on the back burner," Post Standard, 1/26/09
  9. "Cornell Cuts Coal", WBNG News, January 15, 2010.
  10. personal communication from Arthur Chonko to Ted Nace, May 21, 2012
  11. personal communication from Jeremy King to Ted Nace, October 30, 2016
  12. "The Last Rail Car," Duke Today, 2/23/09
  13. "Steam Plant Renovation, Other Projects Approved," Duke University office of communications website, May 10, 2008
  14. "The Last Rail Car," Duke Today, 2/23/09
  15. "Duke aims to cut coal use by 70%," Duke Chronicle, April 7, 2009.
  16. Kimberly Teplitzky,"Eastern Illinois University Switches Off Coal", Sierra Student Coalition, October 2, 2009.
  17. Samieh Shalash, "Hampton University seeking grant for geothermal system to replace coal-burning steam plants," Daily Press, May 26, 2009.
  18. "Energy," Office of Research and the University Graduate School, Volume XX, Number3, January 1998
  19. "Coal Free IU launches week of action" Matthew Glowicki, Indiana Daily Student, January 10, 2012.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Matt Nosco,"Activists march against the University’s use of coal" Iowa State University, April 22, 2009
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