Notre Dame opens hydroelectric facility along St. Joseph River

NOW: Notre Dame opens hydroelectric facility along St. Joseph River

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Last month, the University of Notre Dame hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new 2.5 megawatt, 10-turbine hydroelectric plant under Seitz Park in downtown South Bend.

Notre Dame broke ground on the plant in 2019 as part of a partnership with South Bend's Venues Parks and Arts.

After some pandemic-related delays, it started generating power for the university in May and has been running at around 70% capacity ever since.

Here's how it works: hydropower plants capture the energy of falling water to generate electricity. Then, it's sent to campus through underground lines.

The plant is expected to generate about 7% of the university’s electrical needs and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 9,700 tons a year.

That puts Notre Dame one step closer to its goal of being a carbon-neutral campus by the year 2050.

The university also gave the city $1 million to help restore Sietz Park, highlighting the Firefighters Memorial, the River Lights Plaza, and the fish ladder.

There will also be a new performance pavilion.

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