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Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution

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The Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution SWATeam is examining the Illinois Climate Action Plan goals and accomplishments in this theme.

The primary iCAP goal in this area is to reduce emissions from energy generation and purchasing by 30% by FY20 on our way to zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. To help meet this goal, campus built a 5.87-megawatt solar farm on the South Farms, which provides approximately 2% of campus’ electricity demand.

Additional rooftop solar installations across campus — along with the purchase of wind power — will allow us to move toward our goal.

SWATeams report annually on progress made toward Illinois Climate Action Plan objectives in their area of focus. Click to view the Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution team’s poster from the Oct. 25, 2018, Campus Sustainability Celebration.


Current Team Members
  • Faculty: Yu-Feng Forrest Lin (Chair), Adjunct Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences (2016-) (Email) Read more about Forrest >>>
  • Faculty: Andrew Stumpf, Geologist at Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute (2018-) Read more about Andrew >>>
  • Staff: Mike Larson, Facilities & Services Director of Utility Operations (2014-) Read more about Mike >>>
  • Staff: Tim Mies, Energy Farm Operations Director (2014-) Read more about Tim >>>
  • Student: Jonah Messinger, Undergraduate in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (2018-) Read more about Jonah >>>
  • Student: Gabriel Mishaan, M.S. Candidate in Civil Engineering (2018-) Read more about Gabriel >>>
  • SWATeam Clerk: Taylor Holin, Undergraduate in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (2018-) (Email)


Retired Members

  • Christopher Hillebrand, M.S. Candidate in Engineering Systems (2017-18) Read more about Chris >>>
  • Krish Saxena, M.S. Candidate in Civil & Environmental Engineering (2017-18)
  • Xinlei Wang, Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (2015-18)
  • Carol Lin, clerk, Undergraduate in Materials Science and Engineering (2017-18)
  • Yogesh Bhandari, M.S. Candidate in Engineering Systems (2017)
  • Jack Morrissey, student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (2015-17) Read more about Jack >>>
  • Catherine Yee, student in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (2015-17) Read more about Catherine >>>
  • John Flanagan, student clerk in Mechanical Engineering (2016-17)
  • Scott Willenbrock, Professor of Physics (2014-16)
  • Ben Reeber, student clerk (2015-16)
  • Angus Rockett, former Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (2014-15) Read more about Angus >>>
  • Drew O’Bryan, student (2014-15)
  • Allison Steffens, student (2014-15)
  • Nathan Wells, student (2014-15)
  • Rob Klein, student clerk (2014-15)


Return to main SWATeam page


The other five iSEE SWATeam pages:

Renewable Energy Effort on Campus:
Geothermal Profiling

Funded by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) in 2016, Illinois State Geological Survey researchers Yu-Feng Forrest Lin and Andrew Stumpf installed a test geothermal well on the campus south farms to study the potential of using ground source heat pumps at a large scale to meet campus heating needs and reduce campus fossil fuel reliance. The results of the study will help identify the costs and possible challenges associated with adding a significant amount of geothermal heating systems to campus. Read more about the project >>>

Renewable Energy Effort on Campus:
Wind PPA

In December 2016, Facilities & Services announced that campus has entered into a 10-year power purchase agreement to bring more than 25,000 megawatt-hours of electricity from a wind farm in the state.

Read the F&S news release here.

Read an iSEE feature on the PPA here.

View a fact sheet about the wind farm and the purchase here.


Renewable Energy Effort on Campus: Solar Farm

In November 2015, Campus Facilities & Services officially opened campus’ 20-plus-acre, 5.87-megawatt solar farm on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign south farms. This installation is expected to produce 2 percent of campus’ electrical power demand annually. Read our reaction to the original Solar Farm announcement here. The full story and more can be found on the F&S website here. View a fact sheet about the project here.

Want to know how much energy the solar farm is creating right now? Check out the solar farm’s online, real-time dashboard.

Renewable Energy Effort on Campus: Energy Farm Biomass Boiler

Faculty from all across campus are involved in energy research. Of special note is the 320-acre Energy Farm on the Urbana-Champaign campus. In addition to providing new knowledge about specialized energy crops for midwest climates, the farm also boasts a 198kW Heizomat biomass boiler, which burns the farm’s own harvest to heat the on-site research greenhouse.

Read more about the new biomass boiler on the farm here.