The local, nonprofit utility announced last week it will retire coal as of March 31 – meaning as of Monday, District Energy is no longer burning the carbon-based fuel. Eliminating the use of coal will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by about 10,000 tons per year – the equivalent of taking 2,100 cars off the road, the announcement said. And that’s after District Energy already reduced carbon emissions for its heating system by 57 percent from 2000-17. District Energy heats 197 buildings and 300 single-family homes in and around downtown St. Paul. and cools 116 buildings in the same area. One of the ways it generates heat is by burning wood waste from the region (using a renewable-friendly “combined heat and power” plant). The utility company also uses chilled water storage and solar thermal. President and CEO Ken Smith, in the announcement, said the company has to look at new technologies that “benefit our customers and the environment.” The company has more sustainability measures to reduce its carbon footprint planned, which it hopes to announce in July of 2019. The state has put an emphasis on shifting to clean and renewable energy so...