Government of Canada invests in cleaner energy system for the National Capital Region

News release

Modernization of heating and cooling plants will significantly cut carbon pollution and save money

June 4, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Public Services and Procurement Canada

Canadians are already feeling the impacts of climate change, and expect their governments to take action to reduce carbon pollution. In the National Capital Region, events once known as ‘the flood of the century’ are now happening every few years. In Western Canada, wildfires are filling the air with smoke and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. To lead by example in the fight against climate change, the Government of Canada is making its own operations greener and adopting technologies that significantly cut carbon pollution, reduce costs, and ensure a safer future for our kids and grandkids.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, announced that the Government of Canada will partner with Innovate Energy, through a public-private partnership model, to modernize how it heats and cools buildings in the National Capital Region which will also allow the city, the community, and local businesses tap into cleaner power.

The contract, awarded to Innovate Energy, includes a $1.1 billion investment for the design and construction of the new system, to be completed by 2025, as well as additional funding for ongoing maintenance and operation.  The investment is just one more way the Government of Canada is greening the capital.

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 – 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.

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“We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which includes leading by example by greening our own heating and cooling plants. We are proud that our Government is working with partners like Innovate Energy to modernize this critical infrastructure, reduce costs and emissions in a safe and responsible way.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“By investing in cleaner and more efficient ways to deliver energy to tens of thousands of occupants in the National Capital Region, we are reducing pollution, fighting climate change, and saving hundreds of millions of dollars on operating costs. District energy will allow the city, the community, and the local businesses to tap into cleaner power. We are working hard to make Ottawa the greenest capital city with investments in LRT, cycling infrastructure, active transportation, and a healthier Ottawa River. We are setting the standard for how communities can become greener and more resilient in the face of climate change.  Projects like this show that investing in practical, affordable clean energy solutions protects our environment, supports good jobs, and builds a stronger economy for the future. The environment and the economy go together.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Innovate Energy Team members consisting of PCL Constructors Canada, PCL Investments Canada, Black & McDonald, and Engie Services, along with our design partners BBB Architects Ottawa and WSP Canada, are honoured to have the opportunity to work with PSPC to modernize the district energy system.  This project will be one of the country’s most significant projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save operational costs, and improve safety.”

Tony Cook
Construction Manager
PCL Constructors Canada Inc.

Quick facts

  • The total contract is valued at $2.6 billion over a 35 year period.  The first portion is for the design and construction of the new system, valued at $1.1 billion.  The second portion is for the operation and maintenance, which includes the energy and fuel costs of the new system valued at $1.5 billion.

  • The Treasury Board of Canada is greening government operations to support Canada’s sustainability goals already established under the Paris Agreement on climate change and in the Canada’s climate plan. Our Greening Government Strategy is consistent with the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

  • Through its Green Procurement policy, the Government is integrating environmental considerations in its procurement process. The Government of Canada is one of the largest public buyers of goods and services in Canada and its activities impact the national economy, influencing the demand for environmentally preferable goods and services, the ability of industry to respond to the escalating use of environmental standards in global markets, and the resiliency of Canadian assets to climate change.

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is manages five central heating and cooling plants and distribution networks in the NCR.

  • The National Capital Commission (NCC) is focused on a Sustainable Development Strategy that sets an innovative agenda for environmental leadership in Canada’s Capital Region. The NCC is working to build a greener and more sustainable Capital Region.

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Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada

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