Energy Integration Resiliency Framework

The Joint Development Authority (JDA) approved an Energy Integration Resiliency Framework in April 2015. The forward-looking proposal sets a vision to create the largest net-zero energy redevelopment in the state, outlining plans for an on-site 40-acre solar installation and all-electric residential neighborhoods designed to deliver long-term energy cost savings.

The framework outlines plans for a 40-acre solar installation (an area larger than 30 football fields) that would generate 8 megawatts of electricity, enough to power all commercial and residential developments at Rice Creek Commons. Estimates show the installation has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 7,500 tons annually, roughly the amount produced by 1,432 cars each year.

The groundwork for net-zero energy neighborhoods would be made possible by energy generated from ongoing water treatment at the Rice Creek Commons site. Instead of a traditional HVAC system, homes would be heated and cooled by thermal energy captured from groundwater that is pumped through an on-site treatment process. This energy would be enough to meet the needs of residential developments at Rice Creek Commons.

Ramsey County plans to pursue public-private partnerships to finance potential projects outlined in the framework.

The framework was produced by Saint Paul-based Ever-Green Energy, which has worked with communities like Prospect Park (MN), Duluth (MN), Montpelier (VT), and Arlington County (VA) to develop resilient community energy systems that integrate advanced technologies and renewable energy to create cost-effective and sustainable energy frameworks. The framework project team also included the Center for Energy and Environment, Fresh Energy, and Burns and McDonnell.