The Energy Integration Resiliency Framework sets a path for achieving the largest net-zero energy redevelopment in the state, with plans for a utility-scale solar energy installation on an adjacent 40-acre site, and demonstrations of all-electric residential neighborhoods designed to deliver long-term energy cost savings.
The forward-looking framework outlines plans for a large solar energy installation on an area larger than 30 football fields. This solar project, together with solar energy installed across Rice Creek Commons on rooftops and as solar canopies, will generate enough electricity for all of the commercial and residential developments at Rice Creek Commons. Estimates show the installation has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 13,000 tons annually, roughly the amount produced by burning 1.5 million gallons of gasoline in our cars each year.
The groundwork for net-zero energy neighborhoods would be made possible, in part, by using heat energy 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 distributed by pipes as a district energy system with enough capacity to meet the needs of the proposed Town Center at Rice Creek Commons.
Ramsey County plans to pursue public-private partnerships to finance potential projects outlined in the framework.
The framework also calls for promoting the most beneficial opportunities for energy efficiency, and efficient buildings that provide low-cost energy for residents and tenants. Innovative energy supply systems can be designed for reliability and resiliency with the addition of battery storage and advanced energy system controls to manage demand.
Increased use of local, renewable energy systems can reduce the site’s environmental footprint. With planning and leadership, Rice Creek Commons can be developed with low-carbon energy sources, high energy and environmental standards, and the engagement of future residents about the community’s energy use and their role as stewards of that vision.
Policy White Paper
The Joint Development Authority approved an Energy Integration Resiliency Framework Policy White Paper in November 2014. The Policy White Paper presents immediate-term, near-term, and long-term policy and actions that the JDA, the City of Arden Hills, and Ramsey County can consider supporting, including through the TCAAP Redevelopment Code, the County RFP process, and future city or county ordinances.
The Policy White Paper was the foundation for the Energy Integration Resiliency Framework, which was approved in April 2015.
To develop the framework, the ERAB is following several guiding principles:
- Establish Rice Creek Commons as a national model for development of integrated energy systems
- Develop a resilient community for energy and other utilities
- Implement infrastructure solutions that are flexible and scalable over the next 50 years
- Deliver a model of efficient energy and water usage that minimizes Rice Creek Commons’ impact on the environment
- Create an economically competitive and attractive environment for developers and businesses