A new 50-year agreement with the South Bend Board of Parks will give the University of Notre Dame the rights to build and run a hydroelectric generation facility on the St. Joseph River. The facility will be located on the dam downtown and the deal includes provisions for the university to pay the city $1 million for renovation to nearby Seitz Park.
Under the agreement, the city will transfer a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission exemption to Notre Dame. The university will also take on ongoing maintenance of the dam.
President John Jenkins says "this is the latest of several recent and mutually productive partnerships between Notre Dame and the city. We appreciate the park board working with us as we continue implementing our broader sustainability plan." Notre Dame anticipates the arrangement will produce around 7 percent of the school’s electric needs. The facility will mostly be underground and will feed transmission lines from the dam to the campus. Notre Dame is aiming to eliminate use of coal in its power plant by 2020 and reduce its carbon footprint by more than 50 percent by 2030.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg says "this is great example of what city-university partnerships can look like in the 21st century. The city is pleased to reach an agreement that invests in a sustainable future and makes downtown South Bend an even better place to live, work and play."
Construction will begin in October and the facility is expected to be fully-operational in early 2019.
You can connect to more about the facility and the school’s sustainability efforts by clicking here.