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Thursday: Essentia Health, Duluth to advance Vision Northland with long-term energy plan

The City of Duluth, its utility provider Duluth Energy Systems and Essentia Health have reached an agreement that creates mutual benefits and exciting prospects for the community energy infrastructure over the next 20 years.

The terms of the agreement were finalized by the parties last week and ensures that Essentia’s Vision Northland project has the reliable infrastructure it needs to provide the highest quality patient care.

By partnering with Essentia, the city and DES can meet the critical needs of Essentia’s Vision Northland project while bolstering further advancement of the DES system and expanding the benefits of the system to more customers in the community. Benefits to the city and its utility customers include higher efficiency energy production and delivery, renewable fuel integration, and a solid redundancy plan with shared production infrastructure capacity.

The new energy infrastructure that will be installed as part of Essentia’s Vision Northland will further diversify the Duluth Energy System’s production using clean fuels as it transitions to a new hot water closed loop heating system and renewable fuels.

“Providing a reliable utility while supporting the largest healthcare development in Duluth’s history will create a sustainable energy source and ensure the City of Duluth meets our goals of reducing greenhouse gases,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. “Duluth’s healthcare industry is critically important to the city but also the region by leading with excellent care, innovative technology and patient-oriented top-rated facilities. This agreement between the City of Duluth-DES and Essentia Health further advances Vision Northland for the long-term benefit of Duluth’s future.”

“We are pleased to partner with the City of Duluth and Duluth Energy Systems. This agreement will benefit not only our patients, but all who live and thrive in downtown Duluth,” said Essentia CEO Dr. David Herman. “In the interest of the patients we are privileged to serve, we employ every opportunity to reduce the cost of care we deliver. In this instance, reasonable financing and long-term thermal energy costs make health care more affordable.”

The Duluth City Council is expected to vote on the agreement Monday night.

More Community News and Sports

The Minnesota Ballet will launch its 2018-19 season with Rite of Spring and Other Dances, a grand sweep of choreography, at 7 p.m. Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, at DECC Symphony Hall.

. Father Gregory Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the country, will be the keynote speaker kicking off this year’s St. Louis County Health and Human Services Conference at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

. Duluth Police Report: Stabbing, 2nd degree assault, threats of violence in Lincoln Park

. Rankings: Howie’s Minnesota Class 2A High School Boys Hockey Preseason Top 20

. Hockey Notebook: Hermantown’s Neal Pionk has earned a spot on the New York Rangers’ 23-man opening night roster. The 23-year-old defenseman had a goal and 14 points in 28 games as a late-season call-up by the Rangers a year ago. The Rangers open the 2018-19 National Hockey League season tonight at home against Nashville.

Video: Rangers coach David Quinn on the team’s roster, Pionk, Mats Zuccarello, building team chemistry and more, here.

Pionk is featured in an off-season training video, here.

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Pen in another Bulldogs men’s hockey recruit:

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League-leader Team North will play three Upper Midwest High School Elite League Hockey regular season games this weekend at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth.

Team North (8-2-2, 16 points) will face Team Great Plains (4-7-1, 9) at 10:15 a.m. and Team Southeast (7-4-1, 15) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s (4-2-0, 8) at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Team North scoring leaders include junior forward Blake Biondi of Hermantown (16 goals, 4 assists, 20 points) and senior forward Ryder Donovan of Duluth East (4-11-15).

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The annual Hilltopper Classic high school boys hockey tournament will be held Dec. 27-29 at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth. Competing teams include Bemidji, Blake School, Brainerd, Buffalo, Chanhassen, Duluth Marshall, Hermantown and Rosemount.