The city of Coquitlam is working on a deal with Fortis BC Energy Inc. to build a district energy system for the city hall, the City Centre Aquatic Complex, and other public buildings. The project is also looking into retro fitting 15 of the biggest energy-consuming buildings to cut down costs as well as reduce carbon gas emissions.
This project bundle, if it goes through, could help the city’s carbon neutrality goals for 2012, reduce its green house gas emissions by 30% b 2015 and of course, save money in the process. Verne Kucy, the city’s acting manager for the environmental services says that if more energy can be created in much lower costs, private sectors will also tend to follow suit. Right now, arrangements are on the way to determine the costs, scope and feasibility of the project.
Forti has offered to pay for the yet-to-be-determined costs of the district energy system, with the initial goal of owning and operating it. Once operational, the city will then buy back the investment through competitive utility rates. Included in the project is retrofitting 15 buildings known to consume the most energy, a proposal submitted by Johnson Controls LP.
Kucy said that the deal is still under discussion and if it turns out to be indeed practical, then the city will decide to go ahead with it.
The city is to set-up a reserve funding of $130,000 annually to help cover for future energy-saving and GHG-reducing projects. The city’s Climate Action Reserve Fund will enable the city to do its responsibility under the Climate Action Charter without having to pay any balance to any third party.
If the fund is approved, the council decided that it would more realistic for the city to fund its own projects, instead of paying back to pre-approved third-party projects such as the Pacific Carbon Trust. This will not meet BC’s standard of “carbon neutral” just yet, will be categorized as “making progress” -like other municipalities were expected to do.
Since 2008, Coquitlam has accomplished 41 conservation projects, has saved a little more than two hundred thousand dollars and reduced GHG by 17% (1,100 tonnes). Other low-priority plans for 2012 are having low-cost or no-cost at all power-saving/conservation projects, including lowering pool temperatures, and replacing heaters and lighting with their higher efficiency or low-wattage models.