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Projects Updates for Geothermal Urbana-Champaign

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  1. Finalized Geothermal UTB press release attached

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you all for your efforts putting this press release together. (See attached) I’ve scheduled this to publish on PRI’s website on Monday, Mar. 20th at 8:00 a.m.

    You can find drilling images here. Please give photo credit to Travis Tate.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks again,




  2. Geothermal Urbana-Champaign Project Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    Geothermal Urbana-Champaign Project updates:

    • Geothermal Urbana-Champaign is an ongoing project with no end deadline.
    • John Freitag is the Project Consultant.
    • So far, 11 geothermal contracts have been signed for 47 tons of capacity.
    • During the first year of the Geothermal Program, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association MREA was involved in helping to start and run the program. 

    The marketing resources document of the project is attached.

  3. Geothermal Urbana-Champaign 2.0 Spring Zoom Sessions

    The following text is from the February iSEE Newsletter, which is attached below.


    Geothermal Urbana-Champaign 2.0 Starts Feb. 23. Geothermal Urbana-Champaign is a public education and group buy program that makes getting geothermal heating and cooling easier and more affordable for Champaign, Piatt, and Vermilion County home and business owners. Register for a spring Zoom session to learn more! Spring dates include Feb. 23, March 29, April 12 (co-hosted by iSEE and F&S), May 2, and May 23 (times vary). Details>>>

    Attached Files: 
  4. Geothermal Urbana-Champaign readies for year two, RFP is out for proposals

    Associated Project(s): 

    The City of Urbana has issued a request for proposals for the second year of its Geothermal U-C program, the geothermal group buy program being led by the city. The group buy will make geothermal available to any residents of Champaign, Piatt and Vermillion counties. The GAOI will assist the city with the program this year, providing mainly education programs for interested consumers, as it did for the first year program.

    The RFP can be found at the city's website at The deadline for submissions from installing contractors is noon on January 21. For information, contact Scott Tess at the city at 217-384-2381 or

  5. Geothermal Illinois - 7/29 Webinar

    Thank you to those who participated in the Geothermal Illinois webinar on 7/29! Many thanks to our presenters, Dr. Tugce Baser, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; John Freitag, Executive Director, Geothermal Alliance of Illinois; and Dr. Yu-Feng Forrest Lin, Director of Illinois Water Resources Center; Principal Research Hydrogeologist, Prairie Research Institute.

    As promised, slides are available for download here, and a recording can be found here.

    Other helpful links shared during the program:

    Please join us on August 10 and August 12 for geothermal webinars that will give us a closer look at campus projects and community models.

    For more information, please contact: 

    Nancy Esarey Ouedraogo
    Extension State Specialist, Community and Economic Development
    905 S Goodwin Ave
    557 Bevier Hall MC 184
    Urbana, IL 61801

  6. Upcoming energy-themed events

    YOU are invited to iSEE's monthly TED Talk: Eco-Edition series discussion. Tomorrow (Tuesday), July 27 at 5:30 PM, Paul Foote, F&S Energy Efficiency and Conservation Specialist, will host the event and lead the July discussion on energy conservation. We will view a pre-recorded TED Talk , "The four things you need to know about the energy you use", followed by a guided discussion and roundtable. All are welcome to this (fun!) Zoom event, and I hope to see you there! Register here.

    Additionally on the topic of sustainable energy, this summer the University of Illinois Extension is hosting a series of free and online webinars on the topic of geothermal energy. There are three upcoming sessions at noon on the following dates (click the links to learn more and register): July 29 (Geothermal Energy in Illinois), on August 10 (Campus Case Study, highlighting ten existing campus geothermal projects), and August 12 (Community Case Study).

    There are many events in the coming weeks to keep you energized and engaged!


  7. Archived Info - Previous Project Description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Geothermal Urbana-Champaign is a public education and bulk purchasing program that makes going geothermal easier and more affordable for Champaign, Piatt, and Vermilion County home and business owners. Made possible through a strong partnership between the City of UrbanaGeothermal Alliance of Illinois, and Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Geothermal Urbana-Champaign uses several key features to lower the price of geothermal for all program participants.

    Whether you adopt geothermal this year or in five years from now, we truly hope you gain a better understanding of this technology and the energy options available to you through this program.

    Some Key Features to this Program:

    • Public Education: Throughout this program, the MREA and GAOI will hold several free, virtual, hour-long informational events where you will learn the basics of geothermal, how it can save you money, and how the geothermal group buy program works.

    • Economy of Scale: Which is just a fancy way of say “bulk purchasing.” Through the power of bulk purchasing this program’s high quality contractor is able to offer a below market price/ton. The more people that go geothermal through this program, the lower the price will be for everyone

    • Competitive Contractor Selection: Led by the MREA, with help from a local advisory committee, the competitive selection process ensures that this program’s geothermal installations are performed by a high quality contractor at a below market price

    • Community Support & Outreach: Our programs are supported by both the leaders and community members of Champaign, Piatt, and Vermilion Counties. With the help of your jurisdiction leaders, fellow community members, and you, the MREA is able to spread the word of this awesome opportunity throughout your community!

    How to Participate

    Start by watching one of our free, virtual Geothermal Power Hours. In this hour-long presentation you’ll learn the basics of geothermal, how it can save you money, and how the geothermal group buy program works. You can register for any of our winter events by clicking on the date of your choice below.

    Afterward, you can sign up for a free, no obligation site assessment and quote with this program’s contractor by filling out this short form

    The deadline to participate in this program is May 30, 2021, so don’t delay. Your geothermal journey awaits!

  8. Radio interview about geothermal and clean energy

    Morgan White with Facilities and Services, Sustainability, spoke with Stevie Jay and Diane Ducey on May 10, 2021 on ESPN radio 93.5. They discussed the new Campus Instructional Facility geothermal system, other clean energy projects on campus, and the local Geothermal Urbana-Champaign program.  

  9. Podcast: Morgan White Speaks About Solar & Geothermal

    On May 10, 2021, Morgan White joined Stevie Jay Broadcasting to talk about renewable energy in the Champaign-Urbana community. In this 7 minute podcast, Morgan spoke about solar and geothermal energy initiatives by F&S and beyond!

    Listen to the podcast in the attached files!

  10. Newsgazette Mailbag about campus renewables

    Renewable energy at the UI "How much power is each of the renewable (University of Illinois) sources generating? How many houses can each provide power for? Are there plans to add more than what we currently have? How many years does it take for the cost of each to be paid off? We have a growing interest in this and many homes now also have this."

    Morgan White, the UI's associate director of Facilities & Services for sustainability, has all your answers.

    As for power generation, she said that the UI's "on-campus solar arrays are now capable of producing over 25,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year and we purchase an additional 25,000 MWh/year from an off-campus wind farm in Illinois.

    "For a more comprehensive answer:

    "The (Illinois Climate Action Plan) 2020, objective 2.3.1 is: 'Use at least 140,000 MWh/year of clean power by FY25.' This objective is about clean power, which is different from clean thermal energy. As of 2020, there are three types of clean power options being pursued or used on campus.

    "1. Solar Energy on Campus: installing solar photovoltaic panels on campus property

    "2. Wind Energy on Campus: installing wind turbine generators on campus property

    "3. Power Purchase Agreements for Clean Energy: purchasing solar or wind power from off-campus

    "FYI, Solar Farm 2.0 is projected to produce 20,000,000 kWh/year. It began production at the end of January, so there will only be 5 of 12 months production in the FY21 totals (this current fiscal year)."

    As for the number of houses each can provide power for, White said, "At Facilities & Services, we use the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the average power use in an American home. It currently says, 'In 2019, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,649 kilowatthours (kWh).”

    "Thus, the FY20 clean power use on campus (30,635,993 kWh) was the equivalent of the power needed for 2,876 houses. Once Solar Farm 2.0 is operating for an entire year, that will be about 50,000,000 kWh/year of clean power use on campus, which is the equivalent to the power needed for 4,717 houses."

    And about whether more generation will be added, she said: "The recently released Illinois Climate Action Plan 2020 (iCAP 2020) includes a goal for increasing clean power use to 140,000 MWh/year by FY25. We are currently having internal discussions at the University of Illinois about initiating a large off-campus solar power purchase agreement to meet this goal. We are also continuing to pursue clean thermal energy solutions, such as geothermal. Additionally, large construction projects on campus are required by the state law to be LEED certified, and this will often entail the addition of clean energy systems for individual buildings."

    The payback period for each of these systems varies widely due to several factors, she said.

    "For example, the geothermal system for the Campus Instructional Facility is projected to pay for itself in 28 years, while Solar Farm 2.0 is saving money in year one," said White. "For local projects off-campus these programs are very helpful: the Solar Urbana-Champaign program typically finds solar installations to pay for themselves in six or seven years, and the Geothermal Urbana-Champaign program typically finds a geothermal system at a residential home can pay for itself within 10 years."