Next steps for Blatchford

On March 17, 2016, City Council directed the Blatchford office to further investigate the development of a renewable energy utility model to achieve Blatchford’s ambitious energy goals related to carbon neutrality and use of 100% renewable energy sources.

Major construction at the site will likely be delayed for approximately one year to allow the Blatchford office, in partnership with external consultants, time to deliver on Council’s request for more information and to seek funding from the provincial and federal governments.  The Blatchford office will provide an update to City Council in June 2016.

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Message from Mayor Iveson

When we closed the downtown airport, we made a deal with Edmontonians to do something special with these lands located in the heart of our city. That promise was Blatchford.

On March 17, City Council made a decision to further advance an important part of this development: how best to provide heat and hot water for Blatchford residents in a carbon neutral, 100% renewable way. The proven technology of a district energy system is a leading candidate to provide this source of heat, and the motion unanimously passed by Council allows us time to explore this option and strengthen this vision even further.  

Council also directed administration to engage the city’s utility provider – EPCOR – to work through the utility model and explore the renewable energy solution that makes the most sense for Edmonton. Rather than trying to learn and build a utility model on the fly, we will work with the experts to arrive at the best solution.

Much of Council’s conversations on this topic revolved around the significant capital this system will require in order to be operational. Council agreed to advocate directly to the federal and provincial governments to support Blatchford – a development that embodies everything their climate goals are attempting to achieve. We likely cannot achieve the ambitious goals of this development without other orders of government partnering with us to achieve our vision.

All of this likely means a year’s delay for the Blatchford redevelopment project. While there are a few high profile delays that continue to frustrate Council, this is a delay that I am more than comfortable with. It allows us time for a more thorough review of the utility model and ensures we provide the builders who will ultimately work in Blatchford with absolute certainty. This work will only serve to strengthen the vision for Blatchford, and the case for climate leadership support from other orders of government.

Blatchford remains an ambitious vision, but it also demonstrates incredible leadership. And as leaders, this is what you expect of us.

Mayor Don Iveson 

 

Blatchford Energy Strategy

Building a community for 30,000 people that is carbon neutral and runs on renewable energy is one of the most exciting and world-leading elements in the Blatchford plan. So, how will we get there?

Three interwoven strategies are being recommended to minimize Blatchford’s environmental impact and ensure community energy resiliency.

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  • The first element is energy conservation which is accomplished through high performance building envelopes. By requiring better building envelopes, we reduce the amount of energy needed in the first place.
  • The second element is energy efficiency which is accomplished through the proposed District Energy Sharing System. A sharing system allows us to use the same unit of energy over and over by storing it and sharing it between buildings and even between seasons.
  • The third element is the use of renewable energy. The district energy sharing system incorporates geo-exchange and sewer heat exchange as on-site energy sources.  We are also looking at on-site and off-site solar PV and wind.

What is a District Energy Sharing System? Find out more.

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