Featured in BC Business: District Energy at the Brewery District – …Rod Carle, the man in charge of the New Westminster Electric Utility Commission, is trying to bring district energy to his town. Most of its residents rely on electric baseboard heaters for space heating, he says. New Westminster buys electricity wholesale from BC Hydro, then sells it back to customers at market rates. Carle says residents benefit by having a publicly owned utility because they are closer to users, and end profits are shared within the community via lower taxes.

In an area of New Westminster known as the Molson brewery district (because it was once the site of a brewery), there’s an opportunity to do just that. The brewery district is a 3½-hectare planned development that will feature retail space, government and medical offices, and up to 750 residential units. Construction began in March this year and is slated for completion in mid-2011. The development is a stone’s throw from a SkyTrain station and is adjacent to a hospital. The mix of commercial, residential and office space, plus a large hospital, makes the planned neighbourhood an ideal candidate for district energy because not all the users have the same peak loads. BC Hydro funded a feasibility study identifying it as a promising district energy site, and the developer that owns it, Wesgroup Properties LP, has boasted on its website that the project will feature “several eco-friendly initiatives, including an innovative alternative energy program.”

John Conicella, Wesgroup’s vice-president and managing director of development, says the first commercial building underway in the development will include a hydronic heating system with a natural-gas boiler, which in theory could hook into a future district energy system.

Read the full article on Vancouver Sustainable Eneregy.