Duluth Selected for Communities LEAP, Will Get Federal Assistance in Climate Change Efforts

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth’s efforts to combat climate change is getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The city was one of 22 locations selected to take part in the Communities LEAP pilot program.  Federal officials will be working with the city to provide guidance on how they can reduce air pollution, increase energy resiliency, and lower energy costs in the Lincoln Parks neighborhood.

“It’s kind of like getting free consulting services,” says Mindy Granley, City of Duluth Sustainability Officer. “What are the solutions out there?  These are folks that spend their days and nights thinking and breathing energy solutions.  So bringing them to town and getting their help to consult with us and map out that path is really exciting.”

The city credits past efforts for their selection, such as identifying climate mitigation goals, establishing an energy fund, investing in the Lincoln Park solar garden, and releasing both a carbon disclosure project report and a climate action work plan.

Granley says some of the goals they want to see achieved for Lincoln Park is to make homes more energy efficient, implement a cleaner public transportation system, and create local jobs as these goals are worked on.

Ecolibrium3 will assist the city in this program, as they helped out with the application.  They want to see a plan that will help them improve the neighborhood’s housing and the commercial district by transitioning buildings from fossil fuels to electricity, support the port, and making the Lincoln Park Hub a gathering place in case of a power grid outage.

“By putting resources into this neighborhood, we can move this neighborhood forward to benefit our residents and businesses,” says Jodi Slick, Founder and CEO of Eco3, “while we figure out the larger plan for the city.”

Once a plan is in place, both Slick and Granley say they will pursue grants and funding from the local, state, and federal levels to achieve its goals.  Granley adds what they learn from this program will likely help them make similar decisions for other parts of Duluth.

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