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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

T.B. Simon Power Plant - R.I.C.E. - construct original building

Project phase: Planning/Design

Project background

  • MSU's T.B. Simon Power Plant has provided cogenerated steam and electricity to the East Lansing campus for more than five decades. This cogeneration facility continues to provide competitive financial advantages to MSU relative to Big Ten peers and other Michigan universities, and has a proven record of unsurpassed reliability for providing electrical power and steam to campus.
  • The original generation equipment is almost 60 years old, conventionally considered the end of its useful life. Maintenance costs for outdated boilers and turbines are on the rise.
  • The campus demand for electricity will continue to rise much faster than for steam, thus moving the Power Plant's generation equipment further and further away from the balance that is optimal for efficiency.
  • Changing technology allows MSU to consider a different approach for the next generation of power production. There are technical advances in electrical and steam generation equipment, improvements in the nation's natural gas infrastructure, and lower prices for energy storage solutions.
  • A carefully balanced set of strategic investments will enable MSU to modernize its central power plant, save money and energy and allow for further adoption of renewable power options. 

Project scope

  • Installation of a high-efficiency electrical generation facility consisting of three Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) with a combined power of at least 35 Megawatts, which will increase efficiency significantly.


  • $38,000,000 - $40,000,000 (preliminary estimate)
  • The source of funds for the project is expected to be the general fund - utilities.

Questions, comments, concerns?


Construction Junction project update

April 2019