Combined Heat and Power
St. Paul Cogeneration was developed in the 1990s to increase the fuel efficiency and effectiveness of the Saint Paul district heating system and to provide an environmentally sound energy source for our heating customers and the local electric provider. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants generate both electricity and heat from the same fuel source thereby increasing efficiency and making use of the waste heat that results from generating electricity.
Maximizing Biomass Utilization
Urban wood residuals are the primary biomass source for the CHP plant with approximately 50 truckloads of wood chips delivered each day. These urban wood residuals typically originate within 60 miles of the plant and are from storm-damaged trees, tree trimmings, land clearing, clean construction residues (pallets), habitat restoration, and municipal and private tree and brush sites.
- Simultaneously produces 65 megawatts of heat and up to 33 megawatts of electricity
- Up to 25 megawatts of this renewable electricity are supplied to the local electric utility, enough for 20,000 homes
- Excess thermal energy heats enough water for approximately 65% of District Energy’s heating needs
- Utilizes approximately 280,000 tons of urban wood residuals (biomass) annually
- Captures the wasted thermal energy to make energy production more efficient and effective
- Helps with managing urban wood waste and puts more than $10 million annually into the local economy
- Stabilizes energy costs for district heating customers
- Reduces the risk of energy price spikes, power outages, and power quality problems
- Improves energy security and community resiliency
- Significantly reduces air emissions and greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change by using biomass and CHP together