Beneath the streets of Baltimore, Vicinity Energy’s robust underground district energy network of piping distributes 99.99% reliable steam, hot water and chilled water to hundreds of customers in the central business district and Harbor East, while lowering the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30,000 tons annually — the equivalent of removing almost 11,000 cars from the roads every year. District energy is an innovative and resilient energy solution that involves the production of thermal energy at a central plant, eliminating the need to install or manage onsite boilers and chillers. District energy also offers our customers a green energy alternative. Over 50% of the steam distributed throughout the Baltimore district is derived from renewable energy, and Vicinity is on track to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Vicinity in Baltimore
Vicinity tackles global energy problems on a local level, with local resources. For over 100 years, the Baltimore district system has distributed reliable, resilient and sustainable energy to some of Baltimore’s premier institutions and businesses, including hospitals, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, universities, hotel and entertainment venues, commercial and residential space, and government complexes and civic centers.
Sustainable Green Steam for a Cleaner Future
Over 50% of the steam delivered to Baltimore customers is “green steam” — steam generated through zero carbon, non-fossil fuel-based renewables. By using sustainable, alternative fuel sources, Vicinity is reducing Baltimore’s carbon footprint by nearly 30,000 tons per year and helping Maryland meet its goal of generating 50% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030. These efforts align with Vicinity’s Clean Energy Future — our formalized commitment, vision and roadmap to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
Central Chilled Water and Ice Storage is Keeping the City ‘Cool’
Vicinity also supplies many buildings in the downtown Baltimore business corridor with reliable central chilled water services – offering a cost-effective alternative to replacing, operating and maintaining in-house cooling equipment. As one of the largest ice thermal storage systems in the U.S., Vicinity’s innovative system uses ice to augment electrical chilling capacity during the day. By reducing electricity use during peak demand, Vicinity takes pressure off the electrical grid when power usage is at its highest, while also helping to reduce costs for customers.
District Energy Benefits in Baltimore
In addition to reducing the city’s carbon footprint, with district energy, individual buildings don’t require onsite boilers or chillers – freeing up space for building amenities, eliminating the risk of onsite combustion, and reducing upfront capital and ongoing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. You also get the peace of mind that comes with Vicinity’s 99.99% reliable energy delivery. Our interconnected central energy facilities have built-in redundancy, back-up generation and multiple water and fuel sources. So regardless of what’s going on in Baltimore, you can rely on district energy to help keep you up and running.