Landmark District Energy Feasibility Study Evaluates Potential Clean Energy Projects for Guelph

District Energy study provides a roadmap for city planners considering combined heat and power plants as part of their sustainable energy planning for communities

(GUELPH, ON) August 17, 2010 – Guelph Hydro Inc., along with Union Gas, the City of Guelph and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, recently commissioned and produced an in-depth study about the feasibility of Developing a Downtown District Energy System for the City of Guelph Using a Combined Heat and Power Facility. The study was made available to attendees at the Association of Municipalities conference in Windsor, Ontario this week.

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Provide general, background information about District Energy Systems also known as District Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Provide a roadmap to assist City planners in evaluating the potential of combined heat and power plants (CHP) or cogeneration facilities as a clean energy solution for municipalities
  • Determine the applicability of District Energy systems in the City of Guelph by retrofitting existing buildings and energy systems in three identified zones
  • Provide insight regarding the cost to construct, maintain and operate a District Energy system in Guelph over a lifecycle of 30 years
  • Identify legislative and regulatory hurdles to establishing District Energy systems in communities
  • Develop the District Energy design criteria and technical performance measures
  • Address greener and cleaner alternate fuel sources such as biomass, biogas, municipal solid waste, solar energy and geothermal energy
  • Address the environmental issues of greenhouse gas emissions from a District Energy system
  • Provide key conclusions with reference to current trends and barriers to District Energy systems
  • Make recommendations to the City of Guelph to move forward

Guelph Hydro Inc., the City of Guelph and Union Gas commissioned the study. Funding was provided by Guelph Hydro Inc., the City of Guelph, Union Gas and the Green Municipal Fund of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The study was prepared by MCW Consultants Ltd.

Guelph Hydro Inc. is organizing a workshop to present the findings of this landmark study. For more information, please contact: Jen Thorne at 519-822-1750 ext. 2294 –

The study entitled Developing a Downtown District Energy System for the City of Guelph Using a Combined Heat and Power Facility is posted at


“District Energy is expected to play a very important long term role in achieving the goals of the Community Energy Initiative. This study is an important step in creating an energy distribution architecture in Guelph that will allow the City to be served with fuel choices that optimize cost, availability, and environmental impact long into the future. We applaud the leadership of our local utilities, Guelph Hydro Inc. and Union Gas, in conducting this study.”

Karen Farbridge, Mayor
City of Guelph

“District Energy is an uncomplicated and efficient technology with complex implementation challenges. The thoroughness and rigour of this study will prove invaluable as we develop our ongoing short and long term implementation plans.”

Rob Kerr, Corporate Manager, Community Energy
City of Guelph

“The District Energy Feasibility Study is one of the first comprehensive studies done for a municipality in Canada. This landmark document is valuable not only for the City of Guelph but also for other municipalities in need of a reference document to help them in exploring alternative energy solutions for their communities. Of note, the study identifies challenges to District Energy in terms of bylaws, zoning considerations, environmental concerns and infrastructure planning that need to be addressed by municipalities in order to encourage the adoption of this sustainable energy solution.”

Barry Chuddy, CEO
Guelph Hydro Inc.

“Environmental stewardship is a priority for Union Gas. We are pleased to have the opportunity to support initiatives such as the District Energy Feasibility Study that look at innovative ways to manage energy resources and establish best practices that will play an important part in the legacy we leave for future generations.”

Mel Ydreos
Vice-President, Marketing and Customer Care
Union Gas

“FCM’s Green Municipal Fund™ offers a range of resources and services that specifically address the sustainable community development needs of municipal governments, like those identified through the City of Guelph’s district energy project.”

Hans Cunningham
President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and
Director of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, B.C.

Background Information – Guelph Community Energy Initiative

The Community Energy Initiative (formerly Community Energy Plan) is Guelph’s commitment to use and manage energy differently, and better, than it has in the past. The initiative is also intended to attract quality investment to the city. After all, experts agree that a reliable, sustainable energy supply is and will continue to be a key ingredient in the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of cities.

Guelph leaders formed a Consortium to proactively develop a community energy plan in 2004. In 2006 the Consortium formalized a long-term Community Energy Plan (CEP) which would guide the city’s energy future for years to come. The CEP team had a mix of local and global expertise ensuring the plan incorporated the best elements of urban energy management from around the world. Today, Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative is regarded as a model for cities seeking an integrated, community-based approach to energy use and greenhouse gas reduction.

Guelph Hydro’s Support of the City of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative

Guelph Hydro has been a strong supporter of the City of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative. Key activities have included:

  • Was a founding member of the consortium that developed Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative
  • Operates the City’s Eastview landfill site that generates electricity from methane gas
  • Assisted the City of Guelph in creating an energy density map for use in City planning

Guelph Hydro Inc. will also serve as a key member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Energy. The Mayor’s Task Force has a mandate to engage community members and stakeholders and oversee the rollout of initiatives to achieve the goals of the Community Energy Initiative.

The goals of the Community Energy Initiative are as follows:

  • Use less energy in 25 years than the City does today
  • In 15 years, 25 percent of our energy will come from renewable sources
  • Consume less energy per capita than comparable Canadian cities
  • Produce less greenhouse gas per capita than the current global average

Guelph Hydro is a member of the Canadian District Energy Association and the company’s CEO, Barry Chuddy, serves on the Association’s Board of Directors.

Boilerplate Statements

About the City of Guelph

Located in one of the strongest economic regions in Canada, Guelph is the ideal destination for companies to access major markets and customers. Guelph is a vibrant, growing, historic community of over 118,000 residents offering an educated work force, established economic base and an outstanding quality of life.

Guelph offers competitive land and building development and business operating costs partnered with a variety of employment lands and buildings available to meet most business needs as well as fully interconnected and scalable telecommunication network and services.

For more information visit

About Guelph Hydro Inc.

Guelph Hydro Inc. is actively developing sustainable energy projects as a key implementer of the City of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative.

Guelph Hydro Inc. is the holding company for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc, the local electricity distribution company serving 50,000 customers in Guelph and Rockwood, Ontario, and for Ecotricity Guelph Inc, an alternative energy company, also located in Guelph.

For more information, visit

About Union Gas

Union Gas Limited is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with nearly 100 years of experience and service to customers. The distribution business serves 1.3 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. Union Gas’s growing storage and transmission business offers premium storage and transportation services to customers at the Dawn Hub, the largest underground storage facility in Canada and one of the largest in North America. It offers customers an important link in the movement of natural gas from Western Canadian and U.S. supply basins to markets in central Canada and the northeast U.S. A Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) company, Union Gas has assets of $5 billion and approximately 2,200 employees.

For more information, visit

About Green Municipal Fund (GMF)
The Government of Canada endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) with $550 million to establish the Green Municipal Fund TM. The Fund supports partnerships and leveraging of both public and private-sector funding to reach higher standards of air, water and soil quality, and climate protection. GMF contributed a grant of $145,750 to Guelph’s District Energy Feasibility Study.

About Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)

FCM has been the national voice of municipal governments since 1901. It fosters the development of sustainable communities to improve quality of life by promoting strong, effective, and accountable municipal government.

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