The construction of the first phase of Richmond’s very first district energy system – the Alexandra District Energy Utility (ADEU) – was completed in 2012. In 2013, the City incorporated Lulu Island Energy Company (LIEC) to implement and operate the ADEU and other district energy systems on the City’s behalf. As of 2022, LIEC also owns and operates district energy systems in Oval Village (a new neighbourhood being developed around the Speed Skating Oval constructed for the 2010 Winter Olympics), and more recently, in the entire City Centre.
The ADEU system has undergone several expansions since 2012. It currently serves more than 2,200 residential units, 12 buildings and 2.3 million square feet of floor space. This includes 314,000 square feet of commercial floor space and the first ever Walmart to be connected to a district energy system. At build out, a total of 4.5 million square feet will be connected. The ADEU employs a mix of technologies including air-source heat pumps, evaporative fluid coolers, condensing boilers, and geo-exchange fields located in City lands to efficiently heat and cool connected buildings. LIEC was the winner of the International District Energy Association 2020 IDEA Innovation Award for the Alexandra District Energy Utility (ADEU) Smart Centres Expansion.
In 2014, LIEC entered into a 30-year Concession Agreement with Corix Infrastructure Inc. to design, construct, finance, operate, and maintain infrastructure in the new Olympic Oval service area.
In 2022, LIEC entered into an agreement with Corix Infrastructure Inc. and the Canada Infrastructure Bank/ Banque de l’infrastructure du Canada for the expansion of district energy in Richmond. Under the new agreement, the existing Oval Village system will be rolled into a much larger utility encompassing all of Richmond City Centre — the City Centre District Energy Utility. The expanded utility will serve an additional 170 new buildings (50 million additional square feet), representing $500 million of new capital and over one million tonnes of GHG reductions. Under the new agreement, Corix will continue to support design, construction, operation and financing of the City Centre DEU (including the Oval Village). The CIB will provide $175 million in debt financing for the City Centre DEU, facilitating low-carbon heat recovered from the Gilbert Road regional sewer system. The City Centre DEU will continue to be owned entirely by the City of Richmond through LIEC.
Reshape has supported the City of Richmond at multiple points in the evolution of district energy. One of our principals, Sonja Wilson, was the primary project engineer on the ADEU energy centre expansion, which included a second geoexchange field, peaking boilers and chillers. Sonja’s role included:
- Sizing and specification of mechanical equipment;
- Mechanical process design and plant layout;
- Coordination with all other engineering disciplines including geoexchange and electrical designs; and
- Construction management and field reviews.
Reshape also led the original feasibility study and business case for the Oval Village system. We then supported LIEC and the City of Richmond in its negotiations of the unique public private partnership with Corix for the delivery of the Oval Village system. Most recently, Reshape was a member of the LIEC and City team, along with Norton Rose Fulbright, that negotiated the new Design Build Finance Operate and Maintain Agreement with Corix and the CIB for the much larger City Centre DEU. In this multi-year effort, Reshape was instrumental in the negotiation of key business terms, including among other provisions:
- Risk transfer and performance measures;
- Capital planning protocols; and
- Debt and equity financing provisions.