Discover Duluth: Steam Utility District No. 1This week, the “Discover Duluth” photo essay series explores Steam Utility District No. 1 (aka the steam plant in Canal Park). Its exterior is a common sight to residents and visitors, but its cavernous interior hasn’t been seen by many. Jerry Pelofske of Duluth Steam Cooperative Association, the outfit that runs the plant for the city, was gracious enough to grant us access to the facility.
By: Matthew R. Perrine, Budgeteer News
Built in 1932, the steam plant in Canal Park has been a Duluth landmark for the last 75 years.
According to a Time magazine article published at the time of groundbreaking, plans for the plant dated back to 1929, when the city had “hoped to have a steam corporation, one whose central plant would supply heating to the business district of Duluth just as New York Steam does in Manhattan.”
Today, the coal-fired plant, which is owned by the city of Duluth and operated by Duluth Steam Cooperative Association, supplies steam to more than 200 downtown buildings via 10 miles of high-pressure lines.
Jerry Pelofske, the plant’s manager, said the operation consumes about 50,000 tons of coal a year, and employs 18 full-time workers.
Recently, the city partnered with Johnson Controls Inc. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent over the next 15 years.
“Discover Duluth” is an ongoing photo essay series by Matthew R. Perrine that highlights points of interest around the region.