Energy Manager

Net Zero News
Federal district energy system modernization commences in the National Capital Region

July 27, 2022  By  Anthony Capkun

July 27, 2022 – Ottawa launched construction of the Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre—one of four sites that make up the federal district energy system, which provides heating for 80 buildings and cooling for 67 in the National Capital Region (NCR), including the Parliament buildings.

This work is part of the $3.8-billion Energy Services Acquisition Program (ESAP), which aims to modernize and decarbonize the federal district energy system.

“The system currently uses outdated technologies and many of its components are at the end of their service life,” reports Public Services & Procurement Canada (PSPC).

The NCR district energy system currently consists of five central plants using piping that was built between 50 and 100 years ago, yet services some 1.6 million square metres of space accommodating 55,000 occupants with heating and air-conditioning.

The ESAP project is divided into two components. Valued at $1.5 billion, the first is for the design and construction of the new district energy system, to be completed by 2026. The second component is for the operation and maintenance of the new system—which includes energy costs—over a 35-year period (valued at $2.3 billion).

By 2025, the entire federal district energy system will be converted from steam to hot water, reducing emissions from heating and cooling operations by an estimated 92%.

“The new centre will leverage Hydro-Quebec’s 99% carbon-free grid to become one of the few carbon-neutral heating and cooling plants of this scale in North America,” PSPC adds.

When operational, the new centre will be carbon-neutral, says PSPC, “and one of the cleanest, most sustainable energy centres of this scale in North America”.

The contract for the ESAP project was awarded in 2019 to Innovate Energy, a consortium comprising PCL Construction, ENGIE Services Canada and Black & McDonald, with the participation of bbb architects and WSP.

Once completed, the entire modernized system will consist of four energy centres: the new Tunney’s Pasture, the new Cliff at Parliament Hill, the new Gatineau, and the renovated and retrofitted Confederation Heights. The National Research Council facility will be decommissioned.

“Innovate Energy is proud to work as a partner with the Government of Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and improve safety as we design, construct and operate the modernized district energy system in the National Capital Region,” said Tony Cook, ESAP project director, Innovate Energy.

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