ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — District Energy St. Paul is going coal-free.

The downtown utility that provides hot-water heat to nearly 200 buildings and 300 homes in St. Paul says it will end the use of coal after the 2020-21 heating season, reducing the heating system’s carbon dioxide emissions by 27 percent, or 21,000 tons per year.

District Energy said Wednesday it’s making the transition to cut greenhouse gas emissions and diversify its energy sources.

District Energy is in its 33rd year of heating service and 24th year of cooling to the St. Paul central business district. It already gets most of its energy from wood-chip biomass and solar.

The announcement follows Xcel Energy’s decision this month to retire two of the three units at its Sherco coal-fired power plant, the largest in Minnesota.

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