City pushing satellite district energy system for Revelstoke Crossing

The City of Revelstoke hopes to get a new district energy system in place for the proposed Revelstoke Crossing development

The City of Revelstoke is behind a push to implement a satellite district energy system for the proposed Revelstoke Crossing development at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 23 North.

The city is also exploring a bylaw that could possibly require that new high-density developments be hooked up to district energy systems. It is one of several proposed energy efficiency changes aimed at reducing residential, commercial and industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

The news of the proposed new bylaw coincided with a July 25 visit by representatives of several energy companies interested in investing in the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation (RCEC).

Times Review readers are aware the RCEC is hunting for private capital to allow for the expansion of its district energy system. The RCEC wants to expand and build satellite wood-waste energy systems, amongst other renewable energy concepts.

Representatives from Fortis, Corix and consultants representing other entities were led through a question and answer session with the RCEC at the July 25 open house and tour.

The potential investors’ questions focused on the existing business model and its finances, as well as the technology.

City planning director John Guenther said the RCEC’s expansion plan dovetails with the city’s push to enshrine parts of recent energy planning initiatives into law.

The city’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) and the draft District Energy Pre-Feasibility Expansion Plan (DEEP) both seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Revelstoke. The goal is an eight-per-cent reduction by 2020 and 15 per cent reduction by 2030 over 2007 baseline levels.

These two plans will have teeth if they are enacted into law, Guenther said.

But is private development capital interested in being forced into a partnership with a public/private energy provider? “There’s some hot issues there,” Guenther admits.

“The history has demonstrated in many cases that the bylaw provides better enforcement and direction for the community itself,” he told the Times Review. “It really provides a lot more predictability and assurances for any proponent that’s coming in.”

Still at the planning stage, these new bylaws would focus on new, large-scale developments, perhaps under ‘service area’ bylaws.

Guenther said the plan was to get a district energy system in place prior to the development of the Revelstoke Crossing site, which is slated to include three new hotels and four restaurants.

Council approved a land swap between the development’s proponents and the city in June. The swap allows for a road network on the site to move forward.