Is a District Energy System an Option for Whitehorse?

Energy Supply

Nov 03, 2011  Comment

As we continue our work to find new sources of clean energy, we are aware that some options (such as waste-to-energy or biomass) would result not only in the production of electricity but also of waste heat that could be used to serve buildings. That's why we are partnering with the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse to get more information about the possibility of setting up a district energy system for Whitehorse.

The partners have awarded FVB Energy Inc. a contract worth just over $300,000 to carry out this study. FVB is a highly reputable company based in Alberta. It has been in business for nearly 30 years, providing expertise in the field of district energy to more than 20 countries.

The way district energy systems work is that there's a network of underground pipes that transports heat from an energy generation plant via steam or hot water to the customer. In Yukon’s case, we are interested in exploring how waste heat from biomass, gas and/or waste-to-energy generation projects could be used in a district energy system that could serve public and private commercial and institutional buildings.

There would be lots of benefits to Yukon:

• reduction in fossil fuel use and therefore fewer greenhouse gas emissions;
• lower heating costs for Yukoners;
• Development of a biomass fuel industry in Yukon (energy related employment, enhanced local/regional energy economy, greater energy security and improved local control); and
• Meeting the City of Whitehorse’s Sustainability and Official Community Plan objectives and meeting some of the Yukon Energy Strategy goals and certain Climate Change Action Plan objectives.

An initial study done last year indicates that a district energy system is very likely technically and economically feasible in some areas of Whitehorse, including Lewes Blvd. in Riverdale, the Whitehorse hospital area, and the downtown core. This feasibility study will confirm the findings and will explore these and other possible options in much greater detail.

FVB will start its work early this month and is expected to have its report completed by next spring.


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