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October 17, 2011
A couple of years ago, a group made up of Yukon Energy, the City of Whitehorse, Yukon Cold Climate Innovation Centre, Energy Solutions Centre, and the Yukon government hired a consulting firm to look into the idea of a community energy system for Whitehorse. The purpose of the study was to examine whether such a system is economically and technically feasible in the city.
A community energy system typically delivers heat to a number of buildings via a network of underground pipes from a central source. Benefits could include:
The study looked at a number of potential customers and examined 11 different building scenarios. The researchers found that the best option was one that involved connecting 43 buildings along Lewes Boulevard, Hospital Road, and the Whitehorse downtown core.
It evaluated several different sources of heat, including biomass heat (wood chips), biomass heat with pellets, biomass cogeneration (heat and electricity) with chips or pellets, liquefied natural gas heat or cogeneration, a base case of fuel oil to produce heat and electricity, and using heat recovery from the existing engines. The study concluded that the best options in terms of economics were using 1) biomass combined with an Organic Rankine Cycle (a method of converting hot air into electricity); and 2) engine cogeneration (both heat energy and electricity) using liquefied natural gas. These options could be changed however depending a number of factors, including the priorities of the organization taking the lead on a community energy system project.
No decisions have been made at this point on whether to proceed with this as a project.
The report can be found at the bottom of this page.