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


The Cliff Plant, near the Parliament Buildings, is the most central and visible plant on the network and the plan is for it to be designed as an architectural landmark, a community attraction and a centre for information sharing and education on energy efficiency and sustainability. A number of possible implementation strategies were evaluated, including a Crown Design-Bid-Build and ownership and operation of the systems as a public utility. Recognizing that the government would benefit from access to private sector experience, financing and risk assumption, the P3 option was chosen. The challenge now, is to explore how the P3 contract can be adapted to ensure that government objectives will be realized. A key feature of the P3 contract is risk management and deciding how to assign risks. Converting the buildings from steam to LTHW will be delivered by government through Crown Design- Bid-Build contracts, given the high risk premium that would otherwise be imposed by a private partner. The modernization will be delivered by the private partner through a single contract to Design-Build-Finance-Operate- Maintain the five plants and their associated distribution systems. The design and build stages of the modernization will be completed within the first five years of the contract. The financing of the construction stage will be for a seven year term. The operation and maintenance stage for the plants and distribution systems will begin during construction and continue for the following 30 years. There are two other important components to ESAP. Smart Buildings and Plants will be done through a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada’s National Research Council. Building Conversion will be done through several Design-Bid- Build contracts. Biomass pilot projects will be done through a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Research Council and another government department, Natural Resources Canada. FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES Consultations with local municipalities and industry confirm that local wood wastes, industrial waste heat, energy from waste plants and other options could reduce GHG emissions. The remaining emissions would be from peaking boilers using natural gas and GHG emissions associated with the provincial electricity supply. To reduce emissions further ESAP can look at using either “green” gas (methane from landfill sites or anaerobic digesters brokered through the natural gas distribution system) or at purchasing carbon neutral electricity.

The first stage runs from now until 2025 and during this time new carbon neutral fuels will be tested through pilot projects and feasibility studies to prepare for deeper greening in the future. The vision for the second stage is to reduce GHG emissions even more by switching from natural gas to carbon neutral fuels and gradually increasing the number of government and private buildings on the network. Converting the base load to carbon neutral fuels would reduce emissions by an additional 28% per year and expanding the network could triple the overall reduction. SAP will be delivered through a Public-Private Partnership (P3) to design, build and finance the modernization and then operate and maintain the new network for 30 years.

Reductions of GHG emissions by each stage and component of ESAP. The first stage will implement newer technology (top three sections) to deliver a reduction of over 60% by 2025. This opens the way for larger reductions opportunities through use of carbon neutral fuels and expansion of the network.

WHERE WE ARE GOING Consultations in Canada, the USA and Europe and feasibility studies confirmed that the global trend is to switch to LTHW. They found that the overall efficiency of some of the heating systems was as low as 50% and that conversion to LTHW lead to efficiencies of over 80%. ESAP is looking to operate at a peak supply temperature of no more than 95°C at first, with the goal of progressively lowering the peak supply temperature to 70°C. A low temperature building standard is in place so that all new buildings or buildings with major renovations will be able to operate using 70°C supply temperatures.

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