U of M says New Energy Plant Means No More Power Outages

The newly-opened Main Energy Plant Photo: KSTP
The newly-opened Main Energy Plant

December 19, 2017 07:05 PM

A big project to make the University of Minnesota more energy efficient is finished.

Students, faculty and staff at the university won't notice anything different, other than the lights will stay on when power goes out in other places in the Twin Cities.


However, Vice President for University Services Mike Berthelsen says the university will notice a big difference when it comes to the bottom line.

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"We're lowering the University's utility costs by over $2 million every year," Berthelsen said.

Berthelsen says the university will get an additional rebate from the Department of Commerce for energy conservation.

KSTP got a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Main Energy Plant on the Minneapolis campus Tuesday.

The facility is actually the original heating plant that was closed years ago. But 10 years of planning, two years of construction and about $113 million later, it is a new high-tech facility that will save money, reduce the university's carbon footprint by 10 to 13 percent annually and be a more reliable source of power.

"We're able to provide electricity and meet our base needs, our core needs, regardless of what happens off of campus for the first time," Berthelsen said. "And that's critical for the kind of research and patient care that we do."

Power outages on the East and West banks are now a thing of the past. The university's Minneapolis campus actually has two energy plants, so if one goes down there is a backup.
The St. Paul campus has its own power plant. 


Kevin Doran

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