The Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU)
In Vancouver, buildings are the largest source of carbon pollution with nearly 55 percent of community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions coming from burning natural gas for space heating and hot water. Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan sets a target to cut carbon pollution from buildings in half by 2030.
The Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU) – the City-owned district energy system – was established in 2010 to provide cost-effective, low-carbon space heating and domestic hot water to buildings in the False Creek area. The core of the NEU is situated in a dense and mixed-use urban environment, servicing a total of 38 buildings (584,000 m2), including residential, commercial and institutional space (see service area map). The system is rapidly expanding, and projected to triple in size over the next 20 years.
The NEU currently aims to provide its customers with a 70 percent renewable energy supply, from a combination of its innovative sewage waste heat recovery system, clean electricity, and renewable natural gas. Under the Climate Emergency Action Plan, the NEU has committed to developing a roadmap that will set the course to support its transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 (the “100% RE Roadmap”). The 100% RE Roadmap will be brought forward to City Council for approval in 2023.
The NEU will need to bring on significant renewable energy supply to meet the growing baseload demand, as well as implement solutions to decarbonize peak load demand.
The City is seeking innovators that can propose solutions to help transition the NEU to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. We are seeking a diverse array of solutions, compatible with the existing system operating conditions, including (but not limited to):
- New technologies for low-carbon heat production, optimization or renewable energy supplies
- This includes centralized or decentralized thermal energy storage; heat pumps (AS/GS,); sewage/sea water); SMART analytics and controls tech to optimize operating conditions; alternative fuel solutions (e.g. hydrogen, bioenergy); building level heat recovery; and solar thermal
- Energy efficiency or demand-side management solutions
- Operational efficiency solutions
With respect to scale or scope, we welcome solutions that are:
- Incremental, phased or holistic in approach
- Distributed or centralized
- A single solution or several complimentary solutions
Download: NEU Supporting Technical Information [PDF]
Successful solutions will:
- Reduce carbon emissions generated by the NEU
- Be cost-effective, to ensure affordable rates for customers
- Minimize environmental impact, with particular consideration to the City’s broader environmental objectives (including, but not limited to, air quality, land availability/project footprint, noise, potable water use, traffic etc.)
- Provide for feasible implementation (e.g. technological, regulatory and administrative feasibility)
- Demonstrate effectiveness, reliability and climate resiliency
Engaging the City of Vancouver could lead to one of the following agreements, as per its procurement policy regarding unsolicited proposals:
- A proponent conducting a demonstration of its solution
- The City issuing a call to seek market responses to the goods and services being offered
- The City pursuing the proposal
- The City not pursuing the proposal
- Another option as mutually agreed
Note: all inquiries and proposals must be submitted through the Project Greenlight website. If you have a question, check the FAQ for commonly asked questions; alternatively, you can submit your query using the Contact Us form. Please do not contact members directly.
The Project Greenlight team (comprised of sector leads from Vancouver Economic Commission and Foresight) has standardized all challenge reviews. Proponents should review the eligibility criteria for their specific challenge, as each has its own requirements. Proponents should also review the Submission Guidelines closely.