NuPower Thermal LLC (“NuPower”) is developing a district energy project (the “Project”) in Bridgeport, Connecticut which will use the waste heat from existing power plants to provide low temperature heat to a downtown thermal loop. The Project will rely on proven low temperature heating and cooling technology that has been implemented throughout Europe. The United States relies primarily on steam heating which is costly to operate and maintain as well as being a safety hazard. This technology provides for low line losses resulting in much longer and more efficient piping networks.
In May 2013, NuPower completed a feasibility study by COWI North America, a division of the COWI Group a global engineering company. The study was funded by the Connecticut Clean Energy Financed and Investment Authority (“CEFIA”), Wheelabrator, FuelCell Energy, COWI and NuPower. The study showed that the Project was both economic and environmentally feasible while having low regulatory barriers. The Project concept is to capture low grade waste heat through a heat exchanger located at a thermal source such as a power plant and by using water, distribute the heat to multiple commercial and residential customers in Bridgeport. The major pieces of equipment include
• Thermal piping • Heat exchangers at the thermal sources and the thermal customer sites • Backup boiler installation to cover peaking and standby needs
The waste heat at the thermal source is currently being exhausted into the atmosphere and its redirection will represents a new form of revenue. The Project intends to enter into long term agreements with the thermal sources and customers that will provide for reliable long term cash flows for a basic service – providing space heating and domestic hot water.
The Project is composed of two phases which would be done consecutively. The study included a first phase consisting of 2 million square feet of thermal heating at a capital cost of approximately $15 million. Phase I coverage includes certain large facilities in the downtown Bridgeport area. Subsequently, NuPower enlarged the Project by including an additional 1 million square feet of heating at the campus of the University of Bridgeport which adds $5 million of capital cost to Phase I for a total piping network of 5.3 miles. The Project currently has a MOU with the University of Bridgeport as a thermal customer and completed a similar MOU with Wheelabrator as a thermal supplier. Phase II will be an additional 3 million square feet and 1.5 miles of piping requiring an added capital cost of approximately $14 million.
A site plan is shown below with thermal sources in orange. Phase II piping is depicted in yellow.
Summary of Project Attributes
• Reliable thermal supply for space heating and domestic hot water • Proven commercial low temperature thermal distribution technology • Increased efficiency while reducing the carbon green house emissions by 80% over current heating options (approximately 2,150 tons of CO2 per year per 1 million sq.ft.) • Financial structure that includes the use of low cost tax exempt debt • Project qualifies for the CT Class III renewable energy credit program • Provision of necessary services allows for a higher quality project credit • High leverage opportunity because of the Project is supplying basic service to high credit thermal customers. • Significant local and State support for the Project