Test wells for the Towerside Aquifer Thermal District Energy System are underway!
This is just the most recent step toward making this amazing project a reality. The ultimate goal is to decarbonize building heating and cooling in new developments planned on the north side of University Avenue in Prospect Park. This is a big deal, because we know that natural gas is the single greatest contributor to climate change in Minneapolis. My hope is that this project will show us a new path forward for green building in our city.
The idea of the system is to use groundwater, far below the surface, as a sort of thermal "battery," storing heat in the aquifer in the summer and pulling it up in the winter. This relies on the aquifer not moving very quickly. All of the available information about this well-studied aquifer says that it moves slowly enough to work well for this kind of system - and these test wells will verify that.
The next major step is for the City to work with our Towerside partners to find the best way to support the financing for this project. My office has been leading that work for some time, and we won the strong support of the Council last year: https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/file/2020-00763.
I want to thank everyone who has helped make this happen, including Ever-Green Energy, McKnight Foundation, Wall Companies, volunteer leaders with the Towerside Innovation District, and many City staff.
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