County proposal would use HERC to heat, cool North Loop

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July 30, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Hennepin County is exploring creating a North Loop Community Energy System that would capture excess energy from the county’s garbage burner and use it to heat and cool buildings in the neighborhood.

The organizers of the proposal have been meeting with property owners in the neighborhood to get feedback on the idea. They are working on developing a business plan they plan on presenting to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners later this summer or early fall.

Andrew Leith of the county’s Environmental Services department said the proposed energy system would have more stable prices for North Loop customers and it would be a more energy efficient way to deliver heating and cooling to the neighborhood.

“The idea is that we would take energy from HERC in the form of a hot water system and we would pipe it out into the community where it would be used to heat buildings,” he said. “We may also generate chilled water and could send that out so we could supply heat and cooling needs to the local community.”

Michael Ahern of Ever-Green Energy, a for-profit company owned by District Energy St. Paul and District Cooling St. Paul, is also working on the North Loop proposal. The project would be modeled after District Energy St. Paul, which is the operator of the largest hot water district system in North America.

He said the system is 99.9 percent reliable.

David Frank, chair of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, said he thinks the North Loop Energy System is a great idea based on what he’s heard so far.

“It’s the right time to think about it, too, with more new buildings in the planning stages.”