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Ohio State Energy Partners highlighted as a model of innovation

Global Infrastructure Hub uses partnership as a case study in efficiency

The Ohio State University’s innovative comprehensive energy management partnership has been highlighted by a G20 initiative as a global example for improving investment in infrastructure.

Ohio State Energy Partners (OSEP) was presented as a case study last week at a virtual conference promoting the newest initiative of the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub), Improving Delivery Models. GI Hub is a nonprofit organization helping advance the G20’s efforts to support sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure projects.

The conference examined improvements to the infrastructure management process made by G20 governments and industry to address some of the common challenges in the sector.

In 2017, the university and OSEP entered into a comprehensive energy management partnership, which launched an unprecedented energy efficiency program and established Ohio State as an international leader in sustainability. OSEP is a joint venture between ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure.

“Two important goals of this partnership are environmental and economic sustainability. The partnership continues to be an excellent example of resource stewardship that is helping the university to cost effectively reduce our carbon emissions,” said Scott Potter, senior director of comprehensive energy management in the Office of Business and Finance.

The partnership was identified by GI Hub as an innovative approach to meeting climate change objectives without burdening public budgets with energy-efficiency upgrades to existing buildings.

Some of the lessons GI Hub shared from the case study included:

  • Private-sector innovation can be achieved through having the right commercial mechanism and alignment on the output required. In this case the energy-saving initiatives proposed are incentivized by the agreement and approved on the basis of monetary value.
  • The capital structuring also allows capital investments to be made without having to obtain further approvals through a revolving capital loan.
  • OSEP has acted as an enabler for Ohio State to improve energy efficiency and achieve its zero carbon targets, unlocking funds required by the university for academic programs and research centers, and allowing Ohio State to focus on education.

Ohio State and OSEP sustainability goals include improving energy efficiency by at least 25% within 10 years and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

“The public-private partnership model is one that brings immense opportunity for universities to reach their zero carbon commitments, while providing a clear path forward to address critical infrastructure and investment needs of a campus,” said Serdar Tufekci, vice president, Head of Major Partnerships, ENGIE North America. “Through our partnership, Ohio State continues to set a new standard of campus energy, efficiency and sustainability and we are proud to be their partner.”

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