This article appears in the Q2 2018 of District Energy magazine.
The city of Richmond, B.C., has created a novel public-private partnership with Corix Utilities to develop district energy services for its downtown core.
Located on Lulu Island in the Fraser River estuary, the city of Richmond is part of the Metro Vancouver area in the lower mainland of British Columbia. This coastal city of nearly 220,000 residents was a key venue during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, site of the long-track speed skating events. In recent decades, Richmond has experienced rapid growth and today continues its transition from suburban community to a regional town center with international clout. In the process, its downtown core is undergoing a major redevelopment: City Centre (fig. 1), the fastest-growing part of Richmond (fig. 2), is being transformed from a low-density, predominantly commercial precinct into a series of high-density, mixed-used neighborhoods that will have an estimated 50,000-80,000 residents at buildout by 2040.
Today, providing space and domestic hot water heating in City Centre is the new Oval Village District Energy Utility. Located adjacent to the Richmond Olympic Oval – now an indoor multisport arena – this district energy system has been in commercial operation since 2014 and connected its first customer in April 2015. The first phase of the project currently serves 1.9 million sq ft of space in eight customer buildings from two temporary energy centers, both equipped with natural gas-fired boilers totaling 11 MW (37.5 MMBtu/hr) of hot water heating capacity. Future plans for the system call for construction of a larger permanent energy plant that will extract low-carbon heat from a sewer force main, reducing system greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent.
Peter Russell, MCIP RPP, Senior Manager, Sustainability and District Energy, City of Richmond, B.C.
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