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Greenhouse gas-cutting project cancelled by city, citing high cost

By District Energy posted 07-29-2021 13:43


The Nelson Daily


The bottom line sealed the deal for the city in cancelling its district energy heating system project before it was fully realized.

High costs of facility construction and the price tag associated with the work needed to re-furbish customer buildings to facilitate the heat — as well as creating connecting supply lines — derailed efforts to develop the district energy heating system in Nelson’s downtown, according to Nelson Hydro’s general manager.

“The City of Nelson aspires to achieve 100 per cent renewables by 2040, and the district energy concept was a desirable option to reduce greenhouse gases produced by heating from natural gas,” said Scott Spencer in a release from the city.

“Unfortunately, it isn’t an economically viable solution at this time.”

City manager Kevin Cormack noted that access to low-cost biomass was also “a project risk,” considering other larger-scale facilities in the region were creating a similar product, such as the REN Energy renewable natural gas facility in Fruitvale and Mercer’s biomass gasification project in Castlegar.

Cormack said in the press release that he was “happy there is potential that the private sector will step up to build these facilities in our area, and that has allowed us to step back and be a customer versus the developer. These facilities will help the region meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals and allow Nelson Hydro to focus on serving its customers.”

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