Corix receives approval to move on Burnaby Mountain (BC) District Energy Utility project

By District Energy posted 09-18-2017 00:00


The British Columbia Utilities Commission approved Corix Multi-Utility Services Inc’s request for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity on September 15. The decision allows Corix to move ahead on construction of a new district energy system to provide thermal energy services to Simon Fraser University (SFU) and more than 20 other customers.

The decision effectively moves Corix’s project from an initial phase of providing thermal energy services using temporary energy centers powered by natural gas boilers. Corix and SFU designed their operating agreement with the understanding that the temporary energy centers would be replaced by a permanent low carbon energy facility once demand made it economically viable.

The proposed facility will be known as the Burnaby Mountain District Energy Utility (DEU). The biomass plant will be fueled by local wood waste as currently configured but it will be built with the ability to integrate renewable energy sources in the future. It is expected to begin operation in 2022.

The Utilities Commission determined that the proposed project satisfied SFU’s GHG emission reduction obligations and was the most viable way to provide cost effective and sustainable energy. Early estimations, which the Utilities Commission deemed reasonable in principle, show annual GHG emissions reductions of 11,600 tonnes and 11,330 MWh in direct use of electricity for space heating once fully operational. In short, the project is expected to advance goals outlined in British Columbia’s Clean Energy Act. 

British Columbia, and the greater Vancouver area specifically, has long appreciated the benefits provided by district energy systems. The University of British Columbia has operated a district energy system for more than 85 years, and has recently found innovative ways to optimize their campus system and integrate renewables. The City of Vancouver is a champion of the UN Environment Program's DE in Cities initiative and the Lulu Island District Energy system won IDEA's System of the Year award in 2016. Once complete, Burnaby Mountain DEU will add to the province’s reputation as a leader in smart energy policy and practices.

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