HOT|COOL NO. 3/2017 - "North America"


By Jakob Erik Schmidt, Senior Advisor, Trade Council North America, Toronto, Canada

Provincial differences in the systems show green field, and new developments are taking place in British Columbia where 2/3rds are built after the year 2000. In Ontario, the picture is opposite, with 2/3rds of the infrastructure from 1980 or earlier, and this is where the investment in maintenance is expected to be largest. Half of the existing systems plan to expand their distribution and end-users in the near future. The outlook for the different segments varies from province to province, depending on how the district energy sector is regulated. For British Columbia, the district energy market is regulated and primarily driven through municipally owned and privately run operations in and around the Vancouver area. Green field developments here are taking off with considerable speed. Looking at the publicly owned systems, the federal systems by the Canadian Government and the Canadian Military represent some of the biggest investments, converting from steam to hot water and new hot water systems in Ottawa and Halifax. The Danish District Energy Advisory sees increasing interest in operation of hot water systems, optimizing delta-T in distribution systems, and a broader energy efficiency issues from a range of actors in the Canadian market. Challenges in the market have to do with securing finance in the what is typical Public-Private-Partnerships or major consortia-run projects, ensuring optimal operations and competitiveness and the vast distances in Canada. If you want a presence, you need to establish yourselves close to the projects you serve.

Two years since taking office and promising the world that Canada is back, during the Paris negotiations, the Trudeau government has aligned the Canadian provinces on climate issues. Trudeau’s government has led the provinces to implement carbon tax or other measures by no later than January 2018. The federal government got an agreement with the last province a few months ago. The Canadian provinces are crucial in the implementation of the federal policies and Trudeau’s continued success on the climate change agenda. At the moment, Canadian Federal policies, provincial goals and cities local policies are very well aligned – an important step in changing the energy landscape. District energy systems in Canada are a small piece of the energy puzzle, competing with cheap energy sources, such as natural gas, nuclear power and oil. District energy utilities across the country are expanding this new market with each customer a hard-won connection. Looking at the existing district energy landscape, Canada has approximately 180 existing systems predominantly based in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, and fewer in Nova Scotia and Alberta. Recent surveys show ownership as 31 % institutional owned (academia, healthcare or institutional body), 20 % municipally owned and 20 % privately held. The systems provide amix of steam, hot water and cooling to their customers. The majority of the systems in hospitals and campuses are steam-based, while private utilities’ new systems are turning towards hot water based systems.

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