More than 40 companies have responded to a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a proposed P3 to manage and maintain Ohio State University’s energy system and reduce its energy costs over 50 years, reported Columbus Business First.
Ohio State has more than 400 buildings that cover 22 million square feet of space, is building more and expects to spend more than $250 million to improve its energy efficiency. The university spent $100 million on energy in FY 2014 and expects to spend $90 million in utility upgrades and expansion during the next decade and $600 million in the next 50 years, as it adds new facilities, according to an earlier Columbus Business First article.
In its RFQ, issued last February, the university called on bidders to consider how they would operate the school’s utility system, procure energy and achieve mutually agreed-upon energy savings goals. It listed the construction of natural gas plants to generate heat and backup power as an option. The university will deliver payments to the private partner based on how much energy-efficiency savings are achieved.
The 40 potential bidders that the university has deemed eligible to continue to pursue the project are also expected to describe an affinity relationship they could develop with the university that would benefit the institution, faculty, students and stakeholders. Potential initiatives could include “research collaboration with faculty, scholarships and internships for students and integrated co-branded energy marketing opportunities,” according to the RFQ.
The project has attracted responses from finance firms and power companies, many of which the university expects will form teams to pursue the project. The university plans to issue a request for information this fall to which it would receive responses by the end of the year and will issue a request for proposals in early 2016.
This project will not be Ohio State’s first P3. The school began leasing out its parking to a partner in 2012 for 50 years for a one-time payment of $484 million.