Major upgrades planned for UMaine’s Steam Plant

Published: Oct. 30, 2023 at 5:46 PM EDT
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - The Steam Plant has been a fixture along College Avenue in Orono for over one-hundred years, and now a major overhaul is in the works.

“The original plant building will be left standing, and the new building will be added on the south side of the existing building. So up the slope, up the hill, away from the steam plant parking lot.” stated Daniel Dixon, Director of Sustainability for University of Maine.

The design will allow the plant to utilize a variety of different fuels as UMaine seeks to be more energy and carbon efficient. As the plant currently supplies around 90 percent of campus’s power, this will be a big step in that direction.

“The new facility will be super modern. It will be composed of three dual fuel boilers. That will give us fuel flexibility so we can literally burn any fuel that’s available. This will help us to achieve our goals of renewable, reliable, stable price, and cheap price.” said Dixon

“We’re going to be shifting to a more efficient, reliable, and sustainable infrastructure, that will serve the university for decades to come.” stated Eric B. Gordon, Director of University Communications for University of Maine.

The plan is that the updated plant will generate power and will also have unique learning spaces incorporated into the design.

They say while all this is exciting, it will likely be a bit until construction starts on the project.

“We’re not going to be breaking ground until 2026 approximately, give or take six months. Still, it’s a good time to start laying the groundwork as it were with helping to share information with our campus community, as well as residents of the surrounding area, to make sure that they understand that we’re thinking about the future.” said Gordon.