Invest in Fuel-Flexibility for District Heating

When the City reconstructed East Superior Street, it took the opportunity to enhance the infrastructure of the district heating system in place in downtown and Canal Park. Duluth Energy Systems oversaw the transition of its current Open-Through Steam System into a more efficient and environmentally-friendly Closed Loop Hot Water System. The update reduced energy consumption across the system and led to the decreased use of fossil fuels and the reduction of carbon emissions. 

The City of Duluth Climate Action Work Plan recognizes the need for fuel-flexibility and developed Strategy 1.2 to address it:

  • Continue to improve the fuel emissions factor and efficiency for Duluth Energy System.
  • Identify clean energy resources to replace fossil fuel inputs; eliminate coal in the next 5 years
  • Encourage a transition to a more efficient hot-water loop for new and existing customers of Duluth Energy Systems

The City is still working to find resources and funding to make changes like the downtown and Canal Park district heating updates happen on a larger scale. The City should continue to focus on investment in renewable sources and funding the replacement of fossil fuels and upgrade the rest of the system to one that would accommodate fuel flexibility.

To complete this action, write to city leaders supporting their continued efforts in increasing fuel-flexibility in Duluth and emphasize fuel-flexibility as a spending priority.

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