DULUTH - New changes could be on the way for the Duluth Steam
Cooperative, but neighboring businesses aren't too happy with it.
The city council is looking into hiring a St. Paul-based
energy firm to oversee and develop an energy plan for the future. .But it could
end up costing those businesses some extra cash.
Less than two years after the city council rejected the idea
of selling the Duluth Steam Co–op, a new option has emerged.
Dave Montgomery, Chief Administration Officer for the City
of Duluth said, “Just looking down the road the city decided to say, what do we
want this plant to do? How do we improve it? How can we move it forward?"
The city council has sought out the experience and expertise
of St. Paul-based Ever–Green Energy.
"In St. Paul we moved from a fossil fuel, coal based
system to primarily renewable energy with bio mass as our primary source of
energy and we've also integrated in the largest solar thermal installation. It's
the first of its kind in the United States," said Ken Smith, president and
CEO of Ever-Green Energy.
The existing plant serves about 200 buildings in downtown
Duluth and the potential of switching from steam to hot water energy has some
of those businesses concerned financially.
"There are a number of ways through financing, through
grants, through other programs where we can help business owners whether they
be non–profit or for profit," said Montgomery.
While no decisions about any technology changes have been
made Ever–Green Energy says they're committed to making Duluth a better place
to live in the present and the future.
Smith said, "We're not talking about efficiency of
people. We're talking about efficiency of equipment so that we can look at how
we can utilize other energy sources to make it more sustainable."
It’s expected that the idea will be brought up at a city
council meeting near the end of the month.