Feds sign $2.6B deal to modernize capital’s energy systems

The government has entered into a $2.6 billion public-private partnership with consortium Innovate Energy to modernize how it heats and cools buildings in the National Capital Region (NCR), a move it says that will also allow the city, community and local businesses to tap into cleaner power.

The contract includes a $1.1 billion investment for the design and construction of the new system, to be completed by 2025, as well as $1.5 billion in funding for ongoing maintenance and operation.

Public Services and Procurement Canada manages five central heating and cooling plants and distribution networks in the NCR, which includes Ottawa and surrounding areas.

By switching the heating and cooling plants to cleaner technology – from steam, to a fully electric system for cooling and low-temperature hot water for heating – it is hoped the project will reduce carbon pollution by 63 per cent, save hundreds of millions of dollars and improve safety conditions. The partnership also includes the operation and maintenance of the system from 2020 to 2055.

Innovate Energy consists of PCL Constructors Canada, PCL Investments Canada, Black & McDonald, and Engie Services, along with design partners BBB Architects Ottawa and WSP Canada.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said, “We are setting the standard for how communities can become greener and more resilient in the face of climate change. The environment and the economy go together.”