Cornell University Central Heating Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Cornell University Central Heating Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, on Cornell campus (just southeast of Schoelkopf Field).

According to Cornell, coal use at the campus heating plant that "has powered the campus for generations" will be cut in half due to the addition of an $82 million, 30 megawatt cogneration facility, expected to be completed in the fall of 2009. The new facility will generate power using natural gas, while recycling the heat produced in the process.[1]

The university, in December 2009, switched its facility to primarily natural gas. By mid-2011 Cornell plans to retire two coal boilers and eliminate all coal use on campus, helping it meet its Climate Action Plan, which seeks to reduce the school's effective greenhouse gas emissions from 319,000 metric tons (CO2 equivalent emissions) to net zero level by 2050 through "green" development, energy conservation, alternative energy sources, and carbon offsetting. Natural gas, while still a fossil fuel, is said by the university to be a step forward in achieving this goals.[2]

According to Central Energy Plant manager Tim Peer, Cornell used to burn 65,000 tons of coal per year, but that the figure has been reduced to 6,000 tons in the last few years.[3]

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Plant Data

  • Name: Cornell University Central Heating Plant
  • Location: 651 Dryden Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 (just SE of Schoelkopf Field)
  • Energy Source: Bituminous coal (primary), natural gas (secondary)
  • Owner: Cornell University
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 7.5 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 1.8 MW (1988), 5.7 MW (1988) (originally built in 1922 and 1930)
  • Location: 651 Dryden Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.442678, -76.474778
  • Electricity Production: 29,729 MWh (2006)
  • Year(s) Built: 1922, 1930
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • CO2 Emissions: 86,187 tons (2007)
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,013 tons (1999)[4][5][6]

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 86,187 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,065 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 71.65 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 358 tons (2002)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Articles and Resources


  1. Rebecca James, "Cornell's 82 million plant puts coal on the back burner," Post Standard, January 1, 2009
  2. Rebecca James, "Cornell aims to be coal-free in 2011," Ithica Journal, January 10, 2010
  3. "Cornell Closes Coal-Burning Plant" HuffPo, March 23, 2011.
  4. Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed Jan. 2009.
  5. Facility Registry System, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed Jan. 2009.
  6. Coal Power Plant Database, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2007.

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