District Energy Utility Boosts City of Richmond’s Sustainability



Geothermal Forms An Important Portion of Green Energy Plans

The City of Richmond has launched construction of its first district energy utility. In its first phase, being developed in partnership with Oris Geo Energy Ltd., the innovative new utility will use geothermal energy to heat and cool new residential units currently being built in Richmond’s West Cambie neighbourhood. It will help avoid the local production of greenhouse gas emissions by 200 to 600 tonnes annually.

“Richmond is committed to being a sustainable community and district energy Mayor malcolm brodie (120p) - city of richmondutilities can help get us there,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “This will be the next step in an ongoing program to help Richmond reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and further promote the use of secure, cost effective and sustainable energy sources.”

The Alexandra district energy utility is expected to be the first of numerous such projects in Richmond. Council recently approved creation of a new District Energy Manager position, which will support the City’s efforts in this area.

The Alexandra District Energy Utility will be a City-owned utility. Sustainable energy systems such as this new utility provide a number of benefits for the community including:

  • efficient energy use that minimizes consumption, minimizes waste energy, uses renewable sources of energy, and matches energy source with use;
  • increased energy security by reducing reliance on external power sources and creating systems that are adaptable to future technologies and energy sources;
  • substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions;
  • cost-effectiveness alternatives for community energy use;
  • an ongoing new revenue source for the City; and
  • more affordable energy costs for the utility’s clients.

The utility will initially service the new Remy development, a 251-unit multi residential project now under construction. The utility is expected to go into service in mid-2011, coinciding with occupancy of the Remy development. Over time, other new developments in the West Cambie area, a neighbourhood currently in transition, will also have the opportunity to be serviced by the Alexandra District Energy Utility.

The first phase of the Alexandra District Energy Utility will use ground source heat pump technology for the primary renewable energy source. Underground well and piping infrastructure will be sited on park land between Odlin Road and Cambie Road (the Greenway). A small Energy Centre building will be sited on park land south of the Greenway. The Greenway will be fully restored for park uses.

The first phase of the utility is expected to cost $3.5 million to construct and $80,000 to operate annually at full capacity. All of these costs will be recovered over time through user rates, making the utility self-financing and placing no burden on Richmond taxpayers who are not serviced by the utility.

Richmond Council has adopted a Strategic Climate Change Program which includes a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050 from 2007 levels.

To Learn More:

Click on Geothermal forms an important portion of green energy plans to read an article published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on April 9, 2011.


Posted April 2011