Event Center Sources Renewables in Multiple Ways

August 11, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

St. PaulSaint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center – a nearly 1.3 million-sq-foot event venue in Saint Paul, Minnesota – is an EPA Green Power Partner.

The event center employs multiple green power strategies through a combination of on-site and off-site sources. It has been building its renewable energy portfolio for five years. It currently uses more than 60 percent green power, with additional renewable energy in the form of a large solar thermal array.

While no specific next goal is in place, event center managers continually seek out new opportunities to add renewable energy to the portfolio. It is currently exploring options for subscribing to a community solar garden.

The complex’s renewable energy strategy has five different elements:

  1. An 81 kW solar photovoltaic system on the RiverCentre parking ramp in partnership with the City of Saint Paul and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  2. A 1 MW solar thermal system on Saint Paul RiverCentre’s roof that is tied into the local district energy system, which was a partnership with District Energy, the City of Saint Paul and the Solar America Cities program.
  3. A 3-year contract to participate in Xcel Energy’s Windsource program, covering 16 percent of annual electric use. This covers the electric use for all Minnesota Wild hockey-home game days as well as several events on the convention center side and makes the complex one of the top 5 purchasers of Windsource in Minnesota.
  4. A 2-year contract for renewable energy certificates (RECs) through Sterling Planet, covering over 7.2 million kWh of electric use annually.
  5. A program in partnership with Xcel Energy, dubbed “Windsource for Events.” This program gives participants the opportunity to purchase green power for their convention, concert, or other event through a short-term Windsource contract covering a defined block of time. In addition to boosting the total quantity of green power use in the building, the program also creates an educational platform for the facility to introduce green power to new events. It also provides a way for those events to participate in green power purchasing in an easy and inexpensive way.

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