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“Green Energy” in St. Paul

Anders J. Rydaker
District Energy

Americans are hearing the term “renewable energy” more and more as we face escalating fossil fuel prices and fuel supply shortages. On the national level, President Bush outlined an Advanced Energy Initiative in his State of the Union Address, with the goal of replacing more than 75% of U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. On the state level, Governor Tim Pawlenty and his administration are strong proponents of reliable, low-cost and environmentally superior energy services. At the city level, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has signed the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement that will require the city to reduce pollution and increase the use of clean, alternative energy. It is at this level that District Energy St. Paul is leading the way in the use of renewable energy.

District Energy operates the largest hot water district heating system in North America. We currently provide heating service to more than 180 buildings in and around downtown St. Paul (30.5 million square feet) and cooling service to more than 90 buildings (17.7 million square feet). Our primary fuel source is clean, renewable wood waste collected from the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The “green energy” supplied to our customers is produced at an adjacent combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

The CHP process captures more than 50% of the waste heat generated by traditional power plants and converts it to steam. Thus, this process can operate at more than twice the efficiency of conventional electricity-only power facilities, resulting in twice the useful end energy for the same raw energy input.

Large quantities of wood waste – including tree trimmings, industrial residue, and construction and demolition materials – are generated annually in the Twin Cities metro area, resulting in huge storage and disposal problems. The CHP plant turns up to 50% of this renewable resource into green energy annually, replacing about 60% of District Energy’s use of coal. Wood waste that was previously sent to landfills or burned openly is now put to good use, helping the community solve a waste disposal problem and keeping energy dollars in the local economy.

All Minnesotans can be proud that their State Capitol Complex is the first in the nation to be heated and cooled primarily with green energy.

Visit www.districtenergy.com or call 651‑297-8955 to find out more.

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