Duluth got the news in early May: the city is one of only eleven communities across the United States to receive Department of Energy funding to design a geothermal heating district!
“Often, when we talk about renewable energy, folks are usually thinking about electricity — but that is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Mindy Granley, City of Duluth Sustainability Officer. “The other 80% of the iceberg that sits below the water, unseen, is heating buildings. This project is part of answering the question: how can we heat buildings in a cold climate without fossil fuels?”
In Duluth, the idea is a geothermal (or underground) system will harness energy from local wastewater runoff to heat buildings through a local distribution network.
Photo of Lincoln Park hub in Duluth, Minn. Courtesy of Ecolibrium3
The group leading the charge — LNPK 156 Geothermal Coalition — will conduct a study and design the new system. Initial estimates show that this plan could meet the heating load for 2.4 million square feet of buildings in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and support an additional 1.8 million square feet of buildings in the city’s downtown and Canal Park.