Evaluating plans for a new 300-acre retail, entertainment, office, and hotel development
Prior to moving forward with plans for a new 300-acre retail, entertainment, office, and hotel development, the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) had to evaluate if the endeavor was even technically and financially feasible. So, EIA hired our team to determine if adding cogeneration technology would work within their district energy system.
The study verified that the central heating plant (CHP) was feasible—largely due to the system’s ability to substantially-reduce electrical power purchases from the Alberta grid. The project examined adding 4.5 megawatts of cogeneration to the existing central utilities plant. The principal challenge? Determining whether a viable business case existed for installing district energy as part of the new complex. While including cogeneration improved overall district energy economics, the improvement was not sufficient to justify the considerable additional investment in piping infrastructure.
Ultimately, we were able to identify a cogeneration system configuration that cut overall energy costs enough to provide a healthy return on the investment. Previous studies of cogeneration had overlooked some important details regarding how electricity is delivered and—more importantly—billed to the EIA. We also included in our economics the effects of in-progress Alberta electric grid upgrades which were not yet in the rate base.
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