Rochester, Minnesota to Invest in Geothermal Energy

Rochester embarks on $34 million project to install geothermal wells to heat and cool City Hall.   September 18, 2023

By Dave Lubach, Executive Editor

The Minnesota city of Rochester, like many government entities and commercial and institutional facilities, is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero over the next couple of decades. 

The construction of two geothermal wells being drilled in front of City Hall is Rochester’s first step toward achieving that goal. Once completed, the city hall will be the state’s second that’s electrically heated and cooled with geothermal energy, Minnesota’s MPR reported

In addition to the city hall, the project will eventually help cool about 1 million square feet of downtown space, an area that includes the civic center and public library. The project could set the stage for an underground network of pipes to shuttle heated and cooled air between buildings. 

According to the article, “district energy” systems are emerging as a viable option for communities to reduce carbon emissions in buildings. Costs are still an overwhelming hurdle for the construction of the systems, but the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is helping Rochester cover the expense. 

The system is projected to cost about $34 million according to MPR, half of which will be covered by the IRA and other public funding sources. 

Dave Lubach is executive editor of the facilities market. 


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