City of Port Alberni District Energy System

» Posted on Jan 19, 2017

City of Port Alberni District Energy System
Between 2009 and 2019, Farallon worked with the City of Port Alberni to find ways of reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Farallon’s work included the following:

  • Completed an initial study of ways of recovering resources from waste, including producing Renewable Natural Gas from fish plant waste; recovering waste heat from local industry for distribution through a district energy system; replacing natural gas in local buildings with a district energy system based on waste biomass which was being disposed of in open burning.
  • Completed a feasibility study for a district energy system based on biomass. The study included a detailed analysis of energy consumption in buildings which could be connected to the system.
  • Developed a novel three-pipe/three-temperature distribution piping network design, which would significantly increase the overall efficiency of the community energy system. This innovation was the basis for successful applications for grant funding.
  • Managed stakeholder engagement with the Government of Canada, the Province of BC, the City of Port Alberni, Island Health Authority, owners of private buildings, ENGOs such as the Alberni Air Quality Council, industry (sources of biomass), and the public through town hall meetings and through the media.
  • Calculated the environmental impacts of energy alternatives including natural gas, Renewable Natural Gas, electricity, and biomass on a Lifecycle Assessment basis.
  • Estimated the lifecycle benefits to the local economy in terms of jobs and non-tax revenues for the City. Estimated the lifecycle reduction in particulate emissions and greenhouse gases of the energy system.
  • Analyzed the energy systems and energy consumption of buildings that could be connected to the district energy system. Completed the concept design for the district energy system, including advanced pollution controls.
  • Found an innovative way of building the clean energy infrastructure which the community energy system would require into available space of the local hospital. Negotiated an agreement in principle with the local health authority for the hospital utility staff to operate the infrastructure. This avoided the capital cost of building a new energy centre, reduced estimated the ongoing costs of the system to the City of Port Alberni, and reduced estimated the estimated ongoing energy costs for the hospital.
  • Estimated the capital and ongoing costs of the district energy system, developed a cost structure for the price of energy that would be sold from the district energy system, and evaluated ownership models for the system.
  • Completed funding applications, resulting in funding commitment of $6 million in funding for the City. Despite these commitments, the City was unable to finance the balance of the project costs because of an overrun of the costs of a concurrent wastewater treatment project. As a result, the project did not proceed.