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What is District Energy?

The passage of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act allocates $369 billion in spending related to climate change and energy security, and provides up to 30% in tax credits for qualifying clean energy projects. The range of eligible technology includes solar energy, geothermal, fiber-optic solar, fuel cell, microturbine, small wind, offshore wind, combined heat and power, and waste energy recovery projects.

The incentives are especially timely with the steady rise in global record-breaking heat waves that are driving an increasingly urgent need to reduce CO2 emission. Air conditioning for cooling alone causes 10% of global CO2 emissions. Global energy demand for comfort cooling is estimated to grow 33-fold by the year 2100 to more than 10,000 TWh. District cooling emits significantly less CO2 than conventional cooling systems and emits no hazardous refrigerants.

A district energy system is a network of pipes that heats and cools buildings across a neighborhood or an entire city. Modern district energy systems connect renewables, waste heat, thermal storage, power grids, thermal grids, and heat pumps together – and can deliver up to 50% less primary energy consumption for heating and cooling. Over the past 20 years, BTY has provided multiple services – including Project Management and Lenders’ Technical Advisory – on some of North America’s largest and most innovative district energy projects.

One of our largest district energy projects is the Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC) Expansion Project in Toronto. BTY is providing Project Management services to Enwave Energy Corporation’s DLWC system that draws cold water from Lake Ontario to cool more than 90 commercial and residential buildings, educational campuses, government buildings, and hospitals in Toronto’s downtown core.

The latest expansion phase will provide 40% more cooling capacity, avoid more than 70% of peak electricity demand and reduce GHG emissions by more than 80% when compared to traditional cooling systems.

Additional District Energy Expertise

BTY also supports Enwave Energy Corporation on a substantial portfolio of district energy projects across Canada including waste-to-energy, biomass, sewage effluent heat recovery, geothermal, chilled water networks and combined heat and power. Our team of specialists work to provide commercial, financial, and strategic advisory services as well as risk management, master scheduling, and procurement model selection and implementation.

BTY served as the Lenders’ Technical Advisor and offered Project Management services for EAS Energy Partners on what has become North America’s largest sewer heat recovery system. EAS, a consortium led by CenTrio Energy, is worked in partnership with the National Western Center to use CenTrio’s innovative technology and a sewer heat recovery district energy approach to heat and cool buildings – with recycled thermal energy from nearby sewer lines – in the Center’s 250-acre campus in Denver, CO.

We are also providing Lenders’ Technical Advisory Services for the re-development, expansion, or modernization of district energy systems at the California State University at Fresno and the University of Idaho.

Reach out to learn more about our full scope of capabilities across the energy sector.