At its Friday meeting, Ohio State University's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the largest investment in the school's history: a 50-year plan to privatize its energy production.
Ohio State will receive an upfront payment of $1.1 billion from Paris-based energy company ENGIE and the Canadian firm Axium Infrastructure, which together form Ohio State Energy Partners.
In return, Ohio State will pay the group $55 million a year to operate its energy assets, which include the McCracken Power Plant.
In addition, the Partners will pay $150 million in three phases for direct spending on university priorities.
“Because of its size and because it’s 50 years and all the other things, there’s a real great opportunity for this to be misunderstood and misappreciated,” said trustee W.G. Jurgensen.
The Board says more information needs to be available to the public so people can understand the scope of the deal.
The agreement also includes a new $50 million Energy Advancement and Innovation Center for energy research and technology commercialization. Ohio State has said employees who don’t wish to transfer to the new company will be able to gain other employment with the university at comparable pay.