The University and Duke Energy announced a partnership Tuesday that has the goal of creating cleaner and more efficient power for the Duke community.

Duke Energy Carolinas has proposed a 35-year agreement to own, build and operate a 21-megawatt natural gas combined heat and power facility on Duke’s campus. If the $55 million project is approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the plant will use the waste heat from generating electricity to produce thermal energy and steam. In addition, the electric power will be put back on Duke Energy’s electric grid to be used by the University and community.

“This partnership will provide value for Duke University and will accelerate our progress toward climate neutrality,” Executive Vice President Tallman Trask said in a Duke Today release. “By combining steam and electricity generation systems, we can increase efficiency and reduce our overall consumption by millions of units of energy each year, and have a positive effect on the community at large.”

According to Duke’s Climate Action plan, the University has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2024. One of its key goals is to increase the efficiency of energy production.

If approved, the plant will be one of the most efficient power-generating assets of Duke Energy. The facility would be able to produce approximately 75,000 pounds of steam per hour, which would be sold to Duke University for its needs such as heating water.

The project also would be capable of lowering energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at the University by approximately 25 percent. In the future, it could provide additional back-up to the energy grid to increase the grid’s reliability.

The facility would be connected to a substation that already exists on campus and serves the University.