Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune
The born-again, century-old “Old Main Heating Plant” on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota is a proxy for a greener Minnesota’s economy.
That’s a job-producing, smog-reducing trend that also combats climate change that’s warming the planet and driving weather volatility.
“Old Main,” a dirty, once-shuttered, coal-fired plant, was relaunched last December as a natural gas-fired combined heat and power producer that, at 83 percent, is twice as efficient as the old facility and generates enough steam and electricity to power and heat the huge campus.
“We have lowered the campus energy bill by $2 million annually,” said Mike Berthelsen, the U’s vice president of university services, “It cuts our campus carbon emissions by 50 percent and lowers the university’s overall carbon footprint by 10 to 13 percent.”
The $113 million project is projected to easily retire the debt through energy savings over the next 25 years.