Vice President Facilities and Operations

Utilities Behind the Scenes

Heating Plant

Our heating plant produces steam to heat and power the Greater Campus Area. Five large boilers burn natural gas, producing one-billion kilograms of steam each year.

The UAlberta campus uses four-million gigajoules of natural gas annually—that's enough energy to heat 36,000 new, average-sized detached homes in Canada for the year. 

Our heating plant operates two steam turbine generators. Together these generators can produce 25 per cent of the power the UAlberta campus needs.

Cooling Plants

Our two cooling plants and our thermal energy storage system keep UAlberta’s buildings, and important medical and research equipment cool.

Cooling Plant

The Cooling Plant sits on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River. During the winter, the plant uses cold river water to produce chilled water.

The cooling plant has ten chillers, each between 2,000 and 3,500 tons. Together, the chillers have a 26,000-ton cooling capacity. 

Cooling Plant on Campus

Located on UAlberta’s North Campus, the Cooling Plant on Campus uses evaporative cooling towers to cool condenser water. The plant runs from mid-May to mid-September (when the demand for chilled water is highest).

The Cooling Plant on Campus adds 10,000 tons of cooling capacity to our campus cooling system. 

Thermal Energy Storage System

Our Thermal Energy Storage System can produce up to 5,000 tons of chilled water. We produce chilled water during off-peak hours (when electricity prices are lower), store that chilled water, then draw from this supply during peak hours (when electricity prices are higher).

In total, our campus cooling system has a 41,000-ton capacity. 

Electrical System

Our electrical system is made up of medium-voltage switches, cables, breakers and transformers. We have two switching stations and three feeders to each station.

We supply electricity to the Greater Campus Area by producing our own power in our heating plant and by purchasing power from Alberta's power grid. 

Information and Control Systems

Our information and control systems give us accurate, timely information about our utility operations.

Control Centres

We operate four control centres—one in our heating plant, one in each cooling plant and one in our electrical shop. We also have a backup control centre, which is located remotely from our plants.

Power engineers work in our control centres 24-hours-a-day, every day of the year to monitor and control our plants. 

Distributed Control System

We use a state-of-the-art distributed control system to collect data about our plant equipment, process conditions, metering stations and even about energy market conditions.

Information Processing

Our process information server interprets utility data and creates reports. We use this data to manage costs, prepare invoices and comply with government reporting regulations.

Mechanical Distribution System

Our mechanical distribution system is a ten-kilometer underground service corridor. Piping, medium-voltage cables and data cable trays connect our plants to the buildings on campus, allowing us to supply utilities to each building.