Energy Supply Concepts

Renewable Energy

LOCAL POWER WITHOUT CARBON EMISSION

Communities can mitigate climate change by switching to clean, or renewable energy sources - energy supplies and systems that minimize, or eliminate completely, the production of greenhouse gases. This will be a critical move for municipalities to make to meet a target of 80% greenhouse gas reduction by 2050. This section provides an inventory of the potential capacity of select renewable energy resources across the Metro Vancouver region, and describes issues arising from the associated technologies. However, it does not reflect constraints of economic viability, social acceptability or current regulations. Existing data from various sources are analyzed and mapped using new techniques suitable to communicating energy resources at a regional scale.

Solar, Geothermal, and Biomass are only three renewable energy options to help power your community. The following pages give some information on a range of renewable energy supplies.
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Solar Energy

SUNLIGHT IN, CLEAN ENERGY OUT
There are two main forms of solar energy harnessing technologies: Photovoltaics and Solar hot water. Photovoltaic solar panels take energy directly from the sun and process incoming light into electricity via its solar cells. Solar hot water systems use the energy from the sun to heat water on site. The water can be used for showers, dishwashing, laundry, or other needs.
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ISSUES AROUND SOLAR ENERGY
While energy derived from the sun is an enticing option, with massive amounts of solar energy available in Metro Vancouver. There are a number of concerns around the viability of solar systems. Prices are still high (though dropping), payback is long term, but the potential for energy independence is enticing.
Cloudy Weather
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The energy produced by a solar panel changes throughout the day and year depending on sun angles and cloud cover. A large uptake of solar technologies would require careful management of the variable energy system.
Shade
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Shade from trees and buildings will affect the energy produced from a solar panel. To ensure the maximum energy output of a solar installation, some jurisdictions in California have laws that prohibit shading of neighbouring solar panels.
Seasonal Access
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When implementing PV or solar hot water panels, it is important to consider access to sunlight.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

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Sum-SHA-Thut, Sooke, British Columbia
The T’Sou-ke Nation is a small First Nation community located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The community has completed a 75-kilowatt solar power installation, which is the largest in B.C. to date. The project is called Sum-SHA-Thut, the Sencoten term for “sunshine”. The T’Sou-ke solar power installation generates electricity from photovoltaic panels. They have also installed solar thermal panels on 37 (out of 86) homes to pre-heat hot water, further reducing energy consumption and their carbon emissions.
Learn more:
turtleisland.org
Vancouver Airport’s Solar Hot Water System
In 2003, the Vancouver Airport installed 100 solar panels on the roof of the domestic terminal building. The system uses evacuated tube solar collectors to absorb solar energy and transfer the heat to water. The panels heat over 3000 liters of water every hour, which has led to a 25% decrease of natural gas use in the terminal. The cost of the project was about $500,000 and the airport reports energy saving of more than $100,00 per year. Furthermore, by reducing natural gas use, the airport has also managed to lower its carbon emissions.
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Drake Landing Solar Community
Drake Landing is a 52-house neighbourhood in Okotoks, Alberta. It is heated by a district system designed to store solar energy underground during the summer months and distribute the energy to each home for space and water heating needs during winter months. Solar energy is captured all year by an 800-panel dispersed array mounted on people’s garage roofs. The system fulfils 90% of each home’s space heating requirements from solar energy, which means they rely much less on fossil fuels. The reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been calculated to be approximately 5 tonnes per home per year.
Learn more:
dlsc.ca
Interesting Solar Resources:
District of North Vancouver Solar Calculator
http://geoweb.dnv.org/applications/solarapp/
SolarBC
http://hespv.ca/residential-solar-energy-systems/canadian-energy-programs/british-columbia

Geoexchange

HEAT IN WINTER, COOL IN SUMMER

Geoexchange takes advantage of the relatively stable temperature just below ground to provide heating or cooling in buildings, using similar technology as your refrigerator.

Horizontal System

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heat from ground
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cooling from ground
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ISSUES AROUND GEOEXCHANGE

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Size (Vertical System)
Vertical systems are more expensive, but can become cost effective at higher building densities. Both systems reduce or eliminate costs & price fluctuations of natural gas or other non-renewable heat sources.
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Scale
Geoexchange works at a range of scales, from the household to the neighbourhood.
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Retrofits
Horizontal geoexchange fields can take up a lot of space, so may be difficult to install in areas that are already developed and have mature trees. Existing home heating systems must also be compatible with the geoexchange heat pumps.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

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Interior of Energy Centre building

The City of Richmond has constructed its first city-owned district energy utility with a vertical geoexchange system. The first phase, developed in partnership with Oris Geo Energy Ltd., uses thermal energy from the ground to heat and cool new residential units currently being built in Richmond’s West Cambie neighbourhood. It could cut local production of greenhouse gas emissions by 200 to 600 tonnes annually.

The first phase is expected to cost $3.5 million to construct and $80,000 to operate annually at full capacity. All of these costs will be recovered over time through user rates, and will place no burden on Richmond taxpayers who are not serviced by the utility.

BIOENERGY

NATURAL CARBON, NOT FOSSIL FUELS

Bioenergy describes the energy contained in biological material, such as wood, crops, manure and garbage. BC has large natural biomass resources that can be used to produce energy at the individual level (eg. high-efficiency wood stoves), farm level (eg. biogas), or in district energy plants.
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PLANT
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HARVEST
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PROCESS
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ISSUES AROUND GEOEXCHANGE

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Air Pollution
Metro Vancouver has very strict air quality standards, that must be met when installing a bioenergy plant. UBC’s Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility filters out virtually all particulate matter.
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Fuel Quality
The fuel source must be free from contaminants & be of consistent low moisture content, etc.
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Increased Traffic
A medium-sized district energy plant is supplied by two trucks per day. This requires careful siting to avoid quiet residential streets.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

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Northern Development BC

Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community, near Prince George, BC

When the therapeutic community for addiction recovery began operations at their current site, it soon became apparent that meeting their heating requirements with propane would be costly - both in monthly fuel costs and carbon taxes. In response, the community pursued funding for installation of a community bioenergy heating system. This $1.3 million project, replaced the propane boilers with a biomass system that uses wood pellets as fuel. The wood pellets are made from low-cost carbon-neutral wood by-products available in the area.

The system has exceeded their expectations, reducing heating costs by 75%.

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ohn Newcom

Dockside Green, Victoria, BC

A wood-fired combined heat and power plant provides heat and hot water to the entire development. This, along with hydropower-based electricity, reduces the carbon footprint of the development.

Learn more:

seatoskygreenguide.ca

Project Profile

INDUSTRIAL

CAPTURING HEAT FROM INDUSTRY’S ENERGY

The pressure, heat, speed and chemical reactions required to transform resources and materials into products requires enormous sums of energy. The energy intensity of these industrial facilities dwarfs that of even the tallest skyscrapers. A by-product, and in most cases also an input, of these industries is heat. The white plumes that billow out of factory smokestacks are in fact water vapor, whose heat reacts with the cool air to form clouds. A common reaction might be to think, “Hey, look at all that smoke”, although the more appropriate reaction would be to think, “Hey, look at all that heat!”
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Summing all the recoverable energy from major industrial facilities in Metro Vancouver suggests that approximately 1.3 million GJ of energy could be reused a year. It is important to note however that this assumes industries are not already recovering heat. Furthermore, it does not provide an indication of where excess heat could be shared across property lines, as part of a district energy system for example.
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Concrete plants, like the one located in Granville Island, are a logical choice for heat recovery. They are located close to centres and produce large quantities of carbon emissions.


SEWAGE

DIVERTING WASTE HEAT FROM GOING DOWN THE DRAIN

Sewage heat recovery uses special pipes surrounded by external pipes that are warmed from proximity to the heat emitted by the sewage. This clean captured heat can then be used to warm buildings. Metro Vancouver could heat up to 700 buildings this way.

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City of Vancouver

REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

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City of Vancouver

The new community of Southeast False Creek chose to create a local energy utility to generate their own power. The utility captures waste thermal heat from the community’s sewage to heat buildings and water.

The estimated greenhouse gas reductions are over 60% for building heat. The utility is generating revenue for the city and reducing energy costs for local homeowners.

For more information: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/southeast-false-creek-neighbourhood-energy-utility.aspx

WIND

WHERE CAN WIND ENERGY TAKE OUR CITIES?

Wind turbines provide some of the most iconic imagery when it to comes to renewable energy. While establishing wind energy may face challenges, future changes in technology can help overcome the barriers limiting their presence in our communities.

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REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

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grouse mountain

The grouse mountain wind turbine in Metro Vancouver is a visible showcase of renewable energy. It is anticipated to offset some of the energy used by grouse mountain resort, while providing a revenue-generating viewing area close to the turbine blades.

The estimated greenhouse gas reductions are over 60% for building heat. The utility is generating revenue for the city and reducing energy costs for local homeowners.

for more information: https://www.grousemountain.com/eye-of-the-wind



RUN OF RIVER

RUN-OF-RIVER TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES A LOWER-IMPACT HYDROPOWER SOLUTION

Hydropower is considered a valuable and “clean” source of electricity, providing in many cases a secure low carbon local energy supply and other value added activities like fishing and recreation. They can be installed at a variety of scales, from the individual home to large systems.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

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innergex

Six run-of-river facilities are located east of Metro Vancouver near Harrison lake. These facilities have a total installed capacity of 150 MW which, based on long-term average hydrology, produce 594 GWh of energy annually.

The estimated greenhouse gas reductions are over 60% for building heat. The utility is generating revenue for the city and reducing energy costs for local homeowners.

Source: http://www.innergex.com/en/