U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Tours TECO

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visited Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) July 18, 2019, to see the energy system that cools and heats buildings on the world’s largest medical complex – the Texas Medical Center. TECO was recently selected the #1 district energy system in the world for 2019 by the International District Energy Association.

“I appreciated the opportunity to tour Thermal Energy Corporation and see first-hand the innovative technology they use at their facility,” says Secretary Perry. “I was interested to hear about how they withstood Hurricane Harvey’s impact, underscoring the importance of resiliency within our energy systems.”

TECO’s technologies make the system reliable, energy efficient, environmentally responsible and economically advantageous. Its use of combined heat and power technology doubles TECO’s annual operating efficiency and cuts fossil fuel consumption by more than 60% compared to conventional electric generation and heat-only systems. As a result, TECO cuts annual tons of NOx by more than 90% and reduces CO2 and total greenhouse gas emissions by 48%. The greenhouse gas reduction is estimated to be the same as taking nearly 8,000 passenger vehicles annually off the road.

“The fact that Secretary Perry took the time to visit TECO helps demonstrate the importance of the work we do here,” says TECO President and CEO Steve Swinson. “There are nearly 1,000 district energy systems in the United States and hundreds more around the world that are examples of what is possible for our energy future. Our efficiency helps our energy resources go further, which contributes to energy security.”

TECO Board Chairman Brad Howell, representative from the Texas Medical Center, also participated in the tour. (Photo gallery below.) “TECO has the simple but daunting task to be perfect 100% of the time, providing chilled water and steam every minute of every day to mission-critical facilities,” says Howell. “Lives and invaluable research are at stake. It’s a zero-fail mission. You can imagine the sort of resiliency needed not just in systems but in character to make TECO’s system successful. TECO enables its customer institutions to do what they do best, which is to take care of people, educate people and make medical discoveries.”

Owned and operated by TECO since 1978, TECO’s district energy system began operation under the ownership of Houston Natural Gas Company in 1969, and this year marks its 50th anniversary.

Today TECO’s district cooling system is the largest in North America. Its combined-heat-and-power-based system pipes chilled water and steam to 22.7 million sq ft in 50 buildings in 16 different institutions on the Texas Medical Center campus. Customers use TECO’s chilled water for space cooling, cold rooms and refrigeration and TECO’s steam to meet space heating, dehumidification, humidification, sterilization, kitchen, sanitary and research requirements. Download TECO facts.

July 2019

Photo caption: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, second from right, toured Thermal Energy Corporation’s district energy plant in Houston July 18, 2019, with, left to right, TECO Board Chairman Bradley Howell, University of Texas Regent Jodie Lee Jiles, and TECO President and CEO Steve Swinson. Photo Hall Puckett.

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Cooling and heating pacesetting institutions at the Texas Medical Center

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