This page shares updates on the impact of the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan.
Community Resilience Project Coordinator
Brett Crecelius was hired as the new Community Resilience Project Coordinator to implement the Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience grant and expand the capacity of the Cities’ Sustainability Department. He will evaluate solar sites and gather community feedback to understand residential solar and storage needs during power outages. His work will inform resilient energy improvements for other cold climate communities. Brett has experience as an economic developer and worked in construction.
LNPK 156 Community Geothermal
Duluth has been awarded a $700,000 grant from the US Department of Energy’s Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment Initiative to design a geothermal district heating system in Lincoln Park. The proposed system will repurpose waste heat from the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District and has the potential to heat every building in Lincoln Park, support a snowmelt system on W Superior St, and boost the heat of the downtown loop. The system would be the first of its kind in the US and provide a model for other communities.
Energy resilience in Duluth
Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) is a $1 million grant awarded by the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office to create a City of Duluth Energy Resilience Plan and explore solar energy generation and storage site options for Duluth. The project will study energy needs during disaster scenarios to improve energy resilience so our power systems can resist weather damage, recover quickly, and stay running even when the power is out.
Minnesota Power to eliminate coal
Minnesota Power’s 2021 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has been improved due to public pressure from citizens like you! In the IRP, Minnesota Power plans to close both of its Cohasset coal generators by 2035, with the potential to close one as early as 2030. It also adds a significant amount of renewable power to the mix, including wind and solar, and will roll out grid batteries to store electricity, moving us away from fossil fuels to build climate resilience in our community. [Image credit: Allete]
GetGreen Duluth launches to increase community sustainability
The GetGreen Duluth app pilot expands the reach of the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan, gamifying the goals of the plan by promoting individual and collective action to create daily habits of climate stewardship and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Users contribute their leaves to the creation of a Micromobility Hub in Lincoln Park that will improve transportation access and expand people-first transportation in Duluth.
$25 Million Investment in Lincoln Park
The City of Duluth has secured a nearly $25 million investment in the future of our community, the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant. The money was received through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and will rebuild W. Superior Street in 2026. It will update 140 year-old underground infrastructure, expand sustainability and active transportation, and create a new streetscape throughout the Craft District.
Supporting fuel efficiency standards in Duluth
The City of Duluth has taken a leadership position in support of fuel efficiency standards by passing the Vehicle Replacement Policy, securing funding for EV fleet vehicles, installing EV charging stations, and joining state coalitions for emissions reductions. Because of this, Duluth has lowered greenhouse gas emissions and taken steps to protect our air quality and the long-term health and safety of our community.
Business brochure created based on the Plan
Community members are helping spread the word about the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan! As a project for Leadership Duluth, a program of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, Alyssa Friesen, Rebecca Bischoff, and Katrina Viegas created a brochure for businesses based on actions in the Plan and will be sharing it with businesses across the community. Check it out here!
Duluth commits to carbon neutrality by 2050
In her State of the City speech, Mayor Larson announced that the City of Duluth is committing to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 community wide. She said the current commitment of 80% by 2050 is no longer enough, “that’s why we are now committed to the Cities Race to Zero, making clear that we aim to achieve carbon-neutrality — net zero — by 2050.” [Image credit: C40 Cities]
City of Duluth releases Climate Action Work Plan
The City of Duluth released its first Climate Action Work Plan. The short-term plan for the next one to five years sets the groundwork for future action. It identifies nine strategies for decreasing city and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more resilient to a changing climate.
Ecolibrium3 wins state Climate Adaptation award
Ecolibrium3 was named the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership’s 2022 Organization Award winner. Nominated by the City of Duluth, the award recognizes a decade of community leadership in Minnesota to advance climate mitigation and adaptation, including it’s leadership in the development of the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan.
More ambitious building standards pass as policy
The Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan urged the City to adopt the Sustainable Buildings 2030 Energy Standard for all municipal buildings and publicly funded projects. The City responded by enacting the Building Owner Performance Requirements Policy, raising building standards for City-owned buildings beyond the state mandates and improving energy efficiency.
Duluth News Tribune editorial board supports plan
The Duluth News Tribune editorial board wrote an editorial supporting the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan. “To be part of responding to that emergency, start at ecolibrium3.org/duluthclimateaction/. There are hundreds of ideas there, from growing your own food to caulking around drafty windows,” they stated. [Image credit: Marian Kamensky | Cagle Cartoons]
"Fundamental guidance" for the City's climate action plan
At the September Natural Resources Commission meeting, Duluth Sustainability Officer Mindy Granley called the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action Plan “fundamental guidance” for the development of the City’s own climate action plan that was mandated by the passing of the Climate Emergency resolution.
City council passes climate emergency resolution
After years of encouragement by community members, especially the Duluth Climate Mobilization, City councilors unanimously passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency. The resolution requires the City to develop a Climate Action Work Plan that will identify strategies for decreasing city and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and help it becoming more resilient to a changing climate.
Influencing movement toward more clean energy
In response to the urging of community members, Duluth’s electric utility, Minnesota Power, set a goal of producing carbon-free electricity by 2050. While there is much more work to be done to speed up the transition to renewables and to stop additional investment in fossil fuels, setting this goal moves us one step towards cleaner energy in our community.