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Partners Agree to Move to Next Phase of Community Energy Project

(Wednesday, August 17, 2005)-- Halifax Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia Department of Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today with Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University and the Capital District Health Authority to move forward with the next phase of a Community Energy Project.

The project would involve construction of a natural gas-fired combined heat and electrical power plant on peninsula Halifax. Waste energy from the plant would be utilized to provide heat to the universities and hospitals through an underground distribution system.

The partners have been cooperating for the past year on high-level economic and technical feasibility issues. Joint funding is being provided to establish the detailed business model (including capital costs), as well as recommendations for an ownership model and business structure.

Mayor Peter Kelly, Energy Minister Cecil Clarke and representatives of the various partners signed the MOU document during a ceremony at City Hall this morning.

“The environmental benefits of the Community Energy Project district energy system are huge,” Mayor Kelly said. “The annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions would be in the range of 120,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide), not to mention the reductions in other green house gases. This would be one of the largest environmental impacts of any district energy system in Canada.”

The GHG reductions would occur as a result of replacing the existing heating plants at the two universities and various hospital sites with a centralized facility, burning a cleaner fuel source.

Energy Minister Clarke said " The Community Energy Project is the kind of innovative co-generation/district heating initiative advocated by our Provincial Energy Strategy. It is encouraging to see municipalities, universities, and hospitals working cooperatively with other levels of government on a project that will benefit all residents and visitors to the Halifax peninsula."

District energy systems are important for addressing energy security issues for vital infrastructure, such as hospitals, by adding more fuel flexibility. In the future, as other alternative energy sources are developed, such as bio-fuels or bio-gas, it will be much easier to convert one centralized facility, compared to a number of heating plants as is the case now.

Councillor Sue Uteck, who represents the district in which the new plant would be located, and members of the Energy and Underground Services Subcommittee of Halifax Regional Council have played a key role in championing development of this project.

“Two Energy and Environment Roundtables have been organized by HRM during the past year,” Councillor Uteck said. “Enabling the natural gas distribution system to reach peninsula Halifax would be an added benefit. Heritage Gas and Nova Scotia Power have been cooperative and supportive of our efforts to date on this project.”

The MOU will terminate December 31, 2005 or upon execution of a Development Agreement to proceed with subsequent stages of business development. The total cost for this phase of work is $75,000 (plus tax). Dalhousie is contributing $10,000; Capital District Health Authority, $10,000; Saint Mary’s University, $5,000; Halifax Regional Municipality, $25,000 and Nova Scotia Department of Energy, $25,000.

Other government agencies have played a key role so far in this project. The Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development, Environment Canada, and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) have contributed technical expertise and financial resources towards development of the high-level technical and economic feasibility, as well as a funding submission to Natural Resources Canada’s “Opportunities Envelope.”

ACOA funded work on the project carried out earlier this year by FVB Energy Services, which now forms the basis of the current phase of work. To build on this investment, the partners have agreed to continue working with FVB Energy Services to complete Stage One Business Development of the project.

If the Community Energy Project moves forward to subsequent stages, there would be significant portions of engineering, construction, design activities tendered through a public procurement process and would generate spin-off economic development benefits within the municipality.


Cathie O’Toole
Manager of Environmental Performance (Energy and Utilities)
Halifax Regional Municipality

John Muir
Nova Scotia Department of Energy




Above content last modified Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 1:55pm.