Full Story (Transforming Edmonton Blog)Big thinking about small-scale project will warm Edmonton’s heart
Mary Ann Debrinski has a really big pipe dream for Edmonton’s downtown heart. it’s green, brilliant and realistic!
As the City of Edmonton’s Director of Urban Renewal, she and her colleagues are working with ENMAX Energy and EPCOR on a small-scale district energy project that could ultimately heat many downtown buildings with hot water from a centrally located thermal generation facility, and save a whack of greenhouse gas emissions in the bargain.
It’s a concept that can realistically only be pulled off every 25 years or so, she says.
“About that long ago, the City looked at heating downtown buildings with hot water from the Rossdale Power Plant, but even though many buildings’ boilers were due for replacement at the time, the idea was discarded because of the costly distance between the source of heat and its potential users.”
She explains that today, the average age of building boilers is about 25 years, so the timing is again perfect for a small-scale heating plant to be built close to the critical mass of both existing downtown buildings and future buildings in the soon-to-be-developed The Quarters Downtown area east of 97th Street.
The thermal generation plant would occupy about four city lots of space and stand a couple of stories tall. ENMAX, which has developed expertise in district energy and operates one in Calgary, would operate the plant. The hot water it would produce would be piped by EPCOR to buildings and hooked into their heating systems.