Chair's Update 4th Quarter 2014

By Ken Smith posted 06-25-2017 19:10


Over the summer I had the opportunity to visit two innovative district energy systems under construction in Vancouver. Both are integrating recovered waste heat as the primary source of energy for the system, significantly reducing energy usage and carbon emissions. These are just two of the many exciting community energy projects under development in British Columbia and across Canada. I also had the opportunity to return to Germany with a bipartisan delegation of leaders from a range of backgrounds to explore energy and climate policy at work in a large industrialized country. A particular emphasis of the delegation was to explore the variety of projects being implemented at the community level.

This is the fourth energy policy delegation to visit Germany, and in each community that I have visited over the past two years, regardless of population, district heating networks and combined heat and power are being deployed as part of the local climate and energy strategy. Clearly district energy is an international community energy solution, as shown in Europe, North America and, growing at an incredible pace, the systems in the Middle East. In December I will visit Dubai for the first time. I am excited to learn more about the exponential growth our industry has experienced across the Middle East over the past 10 years and the essential role district cooling is playing in communities in that region to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Around the globe new district heating and cooling systems are being developed. These systems are integrating new and innovative technologies and renewable energy to increase energy efficiency and resiliency and reduce water consumption and carbon emissions. Many of our industry's legacy systems are also taking bold steps to modernize their infrastructure to serve the evolving needs and expectations of their customers and the communities that they serve. Mature systems are upgrading their distribution systems to increase efficiency, replacing coal with cleaner and more sustainable energy sources such as biomass and solar and integrating microgrids, thermal storage, CHP and thermal energy recovered from local industry or existing power generation plants.

During this time of unprecedented change in the broader energy industry, the mounting number of stories from around the world about our industry is a testament to its strategic importance. The energy stories from communities and campuses add to the growing narrative about the potential of district energy to provide effective solutions to meet our energy and climate challenges. These lessons of leadership, collaboration, partnership and tenacity to develop a new or advance an existing system are inspiring to those who have been in the industry for years and to those who are being introduced to it for the first time.

I hope you will join me in Toronto in October or Dubai in December. Both are sure to be great conferences. If you have not been to IDEA conferences before, I am confident you will find them to be a place where terrific stories from across our industry are shared, accomplishments are celebrated, important learning and mentoring occurs and lifelong friendships are made.

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