St. Cloud pursues renewable energy

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — The city of St. Cloud has launched a project to use renewable energy to power its sprawling wastewater treatment plant.

Clean Energy Resource Teams government outreach coordinator Peter Lindstrom said that other cities are paying attention to St. Cloud’s cutting-edge methane recapture project, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Solar panels generate electricity to keep the plant running when the sun is shining, while methane gas produced during the treatment process is captured and taken to produce more electricity.

“Quite frankly, it just makes a lot of sense,” Lindstrom said. “These wastewater treatment plants are oftentimes the biggest energy users that a local government has. And so any means by which they can cut that utility bill, they should and are looking at.”

In 2015, the city agreed to allow a private company to install solar panels on the roof of the wastewater treatment plan after officials were looking at ways to become more sustainable.

Mayor Dave Kleis said that the city actually produces more energy now than it uses annually.