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President's Message 3rd Quarter 2012

By Robert Thornton posted 06-16-2017 20:09


From District Energy Magazine, Third Quarter, 2012

Rob Thornton

One takeaway I had from the key­note speech by Amory Lovins at the IDEA 103rd Annual Conference and Trade Show in Chicago was the quote from President Eisenhower: "If a problem can't be solved, enlarge it." In my view, Eisenhower's paradigm fits perfectly when thinking about sustainable cities and zero-energy buildings. To really solve the energy appetite problem, we have to look beyond the individual build­ing and scale the problem up to a com­munity level to really get at the significant energy efficiencies available from a district energy system. By making a building ready to use low-carbon thermal energy from a district energy network, rather than relying on its own fuel-combustion equipment, we can more easily achieve greater gains in efficiency and utilize cleaner sources of thermal energy like surplus heat from electric generating plants and renewable thermal from ocean or lake water cooling.

When we address energy on a com­munity scale through investment in more efficient plants, networks and controls to aggregate the combined heating and cooling needs of dozens or even hundreds of end-user buildings, we can reach fuel efficiencies approaching 90  percent with solutions that are simply not feasible on a building-by-building basis. This approach will also unlock opportunities for local and regional energy supplies to improve trade balanc­es and strengthen local economies. To reorient the America energy economy, we are going to need organizations like ASHRAE and USGBC to rethink their prescribed focus on equipment selection tools for individual buildings and predi­lection for modeling to a broader scope beyond the building envelope in order to solve the larger problem, which is the energy appetite and carbon burden of cities and communities.

In many ways, the same goes for our district energy industry. By making our association larger, we can work more effectively at solving the universal problems of public awareness and begin to scale up our efforts to inform policy makers, developers, mayors and com­munity leaders on how to deploy district energy. To that end, I am very pleased to announce the integration of the Canadian District Energy Association (CDEA) into IDEA and to welcome our new Canadian colleagues into the IDEA community. We look forward to an effective transition

 into an even more robust association representing the common interests of district energy professionals across North America and beyond.

For background, IDEA was formed in 1909 and has approximately 1,600 mem­bers from 26 nations. CDEA, formed 18 years ago, has approximately 400 mem­bers, largely from Canada but also from northern Europe. About 110 members are members of both IDEA and CDEA.

For some time, the board of CDEA had been considering various approaches to enhance the financial and opera­tional strength of the organization. In November 2011, CDEA executive board members approached IDEA to explore discussions on whether and how the two organizations might merge or integrate. At the IDEA board meeting in February 2012, CDEA presented a discussion brief of the pros and cons along with the pri­mary objectives of CDEA in potentially consolidating the organizations. That discussion resulted in the motion to form an executive committee of delegates from the respective organizations to evaluate the economic and administrative issues around an integration of the two orga­nizations. Multiple conference calls, both within and between the respective orga­nizations, culminated in a face-to-face meeting in Toronto in April, which was followed by the drafting and negotiation of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that was ultimately authorized by IDEA and CDEA on May 24, 2012.

The MOA sets out a series of tasks, objectives and timelines to reflect the joint commitments of the parties. Of fundamental importance to CDEA was the establishment of protocols that would provide adequate focus on issues germane to Canadian members and ensure sufficient attention to advocacy within various levels of Canadian govern­ment. CDEA members did not want to be simply subsumed into a larger orga­nization and lose all the momentum and industry visibility they have built up over the past decade with federal, provincial and local governments in Canada serv­ing as active partners, supporters and investors in district energy systems. From IDEA's perspective, CDEA's success in capturing government involvement and support is a key attribute that we would like to "export" to the U.S. and leverage into greater awareness among U.S. par­ticipants. The MOA structured the tran­sition as a services agreement wherein IDEA staff would begin providing mem­bership services, subject ultimately to a vote by CDEA members in good stand­ing on July 17, 2012.

On July 17, CDEA members voted in favor of the MOA and thereby approved a motion of dissolution of the CDEA. Over the next six months, IDEA staff will enroll all CDEA members in good stand­ing in IDEA and commence the integra­tion process set forth in the MOA, such as transferring CDEA technical and collat­eral content from the CDEA website into the IDEA website. The CDEA transition committee, comprised of CDEA board members, will support the process and assist in the transfer of intellectual prop­erty to IDEA. CDEA will resolve all out­standing debts and liabilities and transfer residual funds to IDEA, to be used for dis­crete transition expenses and earmarked for Canadian advocacy and outreach.

IDEA has increased the size of its board of directors by one to a total of twenty-two, which will include up to two seats for Canadian representatives, including the seat currently occupied by CDEA Board Chair Bruce Ander of Markham District Energy. The Canadian Forum has been established, holding an initial meeting at the IDEA Annual Conference in Chicago and will be co-chaired by Richard Damecour of FVB Energy and Adrian Begley of Enmax Energy in Calgary. The Canadian Forum will provide a means for people to com­municate on common issues and to identify and prioritize items of interest in Canada. The Forum functions on a direct level during conferences and on a virtual level throughout the year with the Canadian Forum Google Group.

The integration of CDEA should provide a number of benefits to a larger, combined organization. From the per­spective of CDEA, there are synergies in administrative membership services, association business operations, and economies of scale in communications and outreach. For instance, District Energy magazine can easily incorporate more Canadian content as well as a regular Canadian-focused column. Other IDEA platforms and tools such as Vocus media, IDEA proceedings, videos and reports will be harmonized for Canadian use as well.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Bruce Ander, Richard Damecour, Barry Chuddy and Linda Bertoldi of the CDEA board for their leadership, commitment and professionalism throughout the process. I also want to acknowledge the counsel and support of IDEA board mem­bers Ken Smith, Vin Badali, Patti Wilson, Jim Adams, Chris Lyons and IDEA counsel Joel Greene throughout the process.

At the Annual Conference, we also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with AGFW, the German Asso-ciation for Energy Efficiency, District Heating and Cooling and Combined Heat and Power. Werner Lutsch, manag­ing director and CEO along with Wolf- Dietrich Kunze, board member, were on hand in Chicago to sign the MOU to formalize greater collaboration on indus­try best practices and policy exchange. At a federal level, Germany has recently implemented very favorable laws in sup­port of district energy and CHP that could be instructive for policy makers in North America. The week following the MOU signing, IDEA board member Ken Smith of District Energy St Paul participated in a U.S.-German energy policy study tour in Berlin, and was able to coordinate a group visit to the impressive district heat­ing control center operated by Vattenfall. The visit, hosted by Wolf-Dietrich Kunze, showcased district energy very favorably with the government leaders from the Midwest states and further demonstrated the value of international collaboration.

Likewise, IDEA will be hosting the 2013 International District Energy Climate Summit and Awards in New York City on September 23-24, 2013 in conjunction with Euroheat & Power, the Danish District Heating Association, the Danish Board of District Heating and the International Energy Agency. The awards will be held in conjunction with and are intended to recognize cities and communities that have achieved significant environmental gains through investment and innovation with district energy infrastructure. By widening the playing field to global par­ticipation, we hope to expand awareness and broaden visibility of district energy in this showcase event to the world's mayors and policy makers. I urge IDEA members to consider submitting entries for award consideration.

Our release of the U.S. version of Community Energy: Planning, Development & Delivery in June is also intended to expand our sphere of influence to reach mayors and economic develop­ment officials. We want IDEA members to be in a position to participate in the growth of new systems. There are many opportunities to link and leverage the district energy industry as we continue to focus on education. By widening our view, we hope to contribute to more effective planning and implementation of district energy in cities and communi­ties around the world.

#2012 #Q3 #PresidentQuarterlyMessage