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UMN Morris and Ever-Green Energy Release Campus Carbon Neutrality Plan

A wind turbine against a gray-blue sky on a partly cloudy fall day
Author: 
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
October 6, 2020

In the year since Ever-Green Energy chose the University of Minnesota Morris for the Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality Program, the two organizations have worked together to develop sustainable energy pathways for the campus to pursue. These pathways will help guide UMN Morris in its plan to achieve full carbon neutrality.

“University of Minnesota Morris was a clear choice for our Roadmap program, considering their sustainability track record and commitment to achieving carbon neutrality,” said Michael Ahern, senior vice president of system development for Ever-Green Energy. “We developed this program to help schools move from planning to implementation, and we know the campus leadership is ready to put this plan into action.”

The goal of this year-long planning effort was to explore how UMN Morris could deliver long-term cost-competitive energy, improve energy resilience and sustainability through utilization of local resources, identify a path to eliminating fossil fuel, and contribute to the campus’s goal of complete carbon neutrality. The resulting report pays particular attention to meeting the heating and cooling demands of the campus, since UMN Morris has already developed a carbon-neutral on-site clean electricity platform.

“We are appreciative of the opportunity to learn from and work with Ever-Green Energy,” says UMN Morris Vice Chancellor for Finance and Facilities Bryan Herrmann. “Their perspective and expertise as a national leader in district heating solutions fit perfectly with our desire to model how rural communities can meet their thermal needs in a carbon-neutral way.”

The carbon neutrality plan focuses on six potential strategies for the campus:

  1. Using biofuel in the existing heating system
  2. Increased use of local biomass
  3. New geothermal
  4. Heat recovery from a local ethanol plant
  5. A large solar photovoltaic farm
  6. Additional wind turbines

The plan provides insights on how these energy platforms could integrate with each other in complementary ways. It also describes phasing of work over the next few years as well as in decades to come as equipment ages and is replaced.

Sustainability interns Marc Brosius and Quinton Dornisch ’20

Sustainability interns Marc Brosius (left) and Quinton Dornisch ’20 (right)

As with all campus sustainability efforts, students and interns played an important role in the development of this plan. Work was done by Marc Brosius, an intern from the Muenster University of Applied Sciences (as part of the Climate Smart Municipalities Program), and Quinton Dornisch ’20, a UMN Morris environmental science and statistics major.

“Working on the Carbon Neutrality project with Ever-Green provided me with useful lessons and experiences that I intend to use in future career prospects,” says Dornisch. “I enjoyed getting the chance to develop my professional skills and to get a glimpse at how the renewable energy industry works. Above all, it was an honor to have even played a small part in setting UMN Morris on the path to achieve one of its most sought after goals.”

Campus leaders next will work to implement recommendations from the plan. To learn more about sustainability work underway at UMN Morris, visit morris.umn.edu/sustainability.

About Ever-Green Energy

Ever-Green Energy works across sectors to advance and operate energy systems, with a deep commitment to financial and environmental stewardship. Ever-Green is one of the only firms in North America whose portfolio and services include utility ownership, operations and management, engineering, operations and business planning and community engagement. The Ever-Green team applies its depth of knowledge through every step of a system's development and advancement, working collaboratively to implement viable solutions that make energy systems more resilient. Located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Ever-Green operates and manages District Energy St. Paul, Energy Park Utility Company, Duluth Energy Systems and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center Thermal operations. For more information, visit ever-greenenergy.com.