Carbon Neutral Cooling in Saint Paul

Carbon-Neutral Cooling in Saint Paul

Ever-Green Energy’s flagship utility, District Energy St. Paul, continues to work towards carbon neutrality and providing customers with innovative solutions to reduce our collective environmental impact.

District Energy has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 with an aspirational goal of 7% reductions each year. These targets are informed by the recommendations from the United Nations Environment Programme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7.6 % each year between 2020 and 2030. 

In October 2021, District Energy announced that it will provide carbon-neutral cooling as part of the existing service and previously approved rate structure for all cooling customers. This advancement means that District Energy is one of the first district systems in the United States to offer all customers carbon-neutral cooling services. This service feature was made possible in partnership with Minnesota-based clean energy solutions provider Juhl Energy to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) from local renewable energy projects. The current cooling system is 100% electrified, and one REC mitigates the greenhouse gas emissions from one megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity. RECs are tracked by a third-party entity to ensure accuracy. Going forward, this agreement will offset scope 2 emissions used to deliver chilled water to customer buildings.

District Energy customers have continued to voice the importance of renewable energy integration for their business. “HealthPartners is committed to caring for the places where we live and work so we can provide a healthier, cleaner, and more livable environment for our members, patients, colleagues, and future generations,” said HealthPartners President and CEO Andrea Walsh. “Reducing our carbon footprint is an important step in our journey to implement practices across our organization that promote health by protecting the environment. We have made great strides already, and this effort by District Energy will help us meet our aggressive carbon goals.”

Over the last several years, energy and financial savings have resulted from the utility’s continuous efforts to improve system efficiency through customer building optimizations, plant dispatching protocols, optimizing 6.7 million gallons of thermal storage, and strategic equipment investments. District Energy’s cooling system efficiency gains have made this agreement possible.