A district energy scheme in Minnesota, US has been signalled out by the United Nations for its quality.
District Energy St. Paul was the only American project to be recognized in a recent report on the potential of district energy by the United Nations Environment Program.
The UN’s “District Energy In Cities: Unlocking the Full Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy” cited the St. Paul organization’s work using biomass, thermal storage and solar arrays to produce 289 MW of heat annually while reducing CO2 emissions by 280,000 tons. The facility’s electric plant has a capacity of 33 MW.
The major source of fuel for the downtown St. Paul facility is 300,000 tons of municipal wood waste, the report said, which displaces 275,000 tons of coal annually.
District Energy’s CEO and president, Ken Smith, isn’t surprised by the UN’s citation. The utility was created 30 years ago as a model for district energy and has received visitors from around the world, he said, while also mentioning the technology’s part to play in resilience during severe weather events.
“It’s scalable to the needs of the community,” he said. “It’s an important infrastructure to achieving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”