Stanford University recently broke ground on the construction of the Replacement Central Energy Facility (RCEF), a new center to handle the university’s energy needs. The initiative is through a program called Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI), which deals with the university’s internal energy use. Part of a $438 million dollar project to reduce Stanford’s energy use by 50% between 1990 and 2050, the site for the new facility is located in West campus, replacing the current Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex.
Stanford’s former energy system was called Cardinal Cogen. Cardinal Cogen handled Stanford’s energy use from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. A combination of water heating, chilling, and freezing systems and a cogeneration electrical plant harnessing heat waste for use on campus sells excess electrical production to Pacific Gas and Electric company. But due to advancement in sustainable technologies as well as a major switch of the heat recovery medium from steam to water the Replacement Central Energy Facility “is 70% more efficient that the existing combined heat and power process provided by the current cogeneration plant.”
Although at $438 million may be a steep price tag, campus environmental group Sustainable Stanford estimates “that it will pay Stanford back $600 million dollars over the next 40 years.”
The university also seems to have ideas of selling directly to the energy market, saying “having recently achieved Direct Access to the California electricity market, Stanford is now exploring opportunities for a more economic and environmentally-sound power portfolio” in an official statement to the Stanford Review.
The Replacement Central Energy Facility will take over half the area currently housing the Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex. The complex is currently regarded as “the most innovative practice facility in all of golf” in the words of Stanford Athletics. The world-class training center is where the Stanford men and women’s golf teams train, and it speculated to be a major bargaining chip in recruiting top athletes to Stanford’s golf teams.
“Although it is a disappointment to see part of the facility go in the short term, we all realize this is a major development for the university and alternative energy as a whole,” explained a member of the men’s golf team. Half of the Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex will remain as the golf team’s training facility, and there are plans to renovate and improve the section spared.
Though a few golfers have expressed disappointment over the splitting of the golf facility, the team as a whole understands the importance of the new facility. One team member also added “since the golf facilities will essentially remain intact I don’t see this development affecting golf recruiting in a negative way. Stanford offers way more than just a world class training facility.” Hopefully, these sentiments will be successfully conveyed to the recruits.