Nanaimo—Harvests Energy from Drinking Water Support System
By replacing its old, open air water ReservoirNo.1 with a new enclosed reinforced concrete water reservoir that incorporates energy recovery equipment, the City is not only reducing emissions but also expecting potential energy savings between 750,000 – 1,000,000 kWh per year. The new system works in tandem with the City’s new Water Treatment Plant and supplies filtered water to Nanaimo residents.
Success Story Snapshot
Energy Savings / GHG Reductions: Total potential annual energy savings: 750,000-1,000,000 kWh per year (if the station was running at its full capacity potential increases to 1,400,000 to 1,800,000 kWh equates to 26-31 tonnes CO2 equivalent.) Additional annual available power of approximately 1.4- 1.8 GWh; enough to power 160-190 homes . Utilizing gravity in energy recovery is expected to save 650,000 kWh per year in energy; enough to power 60-70 homes
Business Case: System generates revenue from energy produced to sell back to BC Hydro and will help recoup operating costs. Expected to generate between $70,000 and $90,000 in additional annual revenue to the City’s water fund. Minimizes municipal operation costs. Cost sharing of project generates a short payback period of less than 10 years.
|Co-benefits: Project created short term design and construction jobs. Increased attractiveness of the city. Provided a provision of fire protection and emergency storage. Continued access to safe, clean drinking water. Encourage competition in a growing number of small and green projects in the marketplace.|
|Total project cost: Total project cost: $11.2 million. Grants from the Gas Tax Fund ($7.68 million). Remaining $3.5 million cost covered the City Water Fund.|
The new water supply system takes advantage of the area’s topography and hydraulics.
Energy Savings/GHG reductions
"Nanaimo is very pleased to conclude this agreement with our partner, BC Hydro. This initiative has long been a priority of Council, and demonstrates the city's commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and supporting a healthy environment. It will also provide the city with revenue as we can sell power back into the grid, and help recover operating costs of the water supply system." - John Ruttan, Mayor, City of Nanaimo
"This agreement makes sense – it's an innovative use of new infrastructure and the project reflects the types of future projects we hope to see under a new stream of the Standing Offer Program that targets small-scale projects with less than one megawatt of capacity. The project will inform how we design the new stream, which will help us meet our clean energy commitments moving forward."- Doug Little, VP, Energy Planning and Economic Development, BC Hydro
This project marks an important collaboration between the City of Nanaimo and BC Hydro under the Energy Purchase Agreement to provide locally-generated power to the community. Through BC Hydro’s Standing Offer Program, the City is able to create revenue by selling the electricity generated from the energy recovery system back into the power company’s grid. This further agrees with both partners’ goals in carbon footprint reduction set out in the 2007 BC Energy Plan and the 2010 Clean Energy Act.
Of the total project cost of $11.2 million, the City of Nanaimo received $7.68 million on funding from the federal Gas Tax Fund administered through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). The remaining $3.5 million cost was covered by the City Water Fund.
The new Resevoir No 1 and Energy Recovery Facility went on-line in April 2014. Since then, the facility has provided 750 Megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy to BC Hydro’s grid, averaging about 65MWh production per month during the ‘low flow’ months. This hydro-electric power generation is expected to generate between $70,000 and $90,000 in additional annual revenue to the City’s water fund. As a result of the cost sharing, the project has a short payback period of less than ten years and will remain operational for at least the next 50 years. The Energy Purchase Agreement has a 20 year duration, with an opportunity to extend.
Prior to the collaboration with BC Hydro, the City of Nanaimo worked though water licensing process to apply for a power production water license. Other close working relationships included the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Water Stewardship Branch which enabled smooth operation of the process.
The following are tools that will help with research on retrofitting infrastructure and energy harvesting:
- Telkwa’s Deep Collaboration on a Mini Biomass District Heating System
- District of Lake Country’s Turbine Generator
- Naramata’s Energy Efficient Water Treatment
- (2012) Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Award (Brownfield)
- (2012) Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Environment Award
- (2011) Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Awards (Sustainable Remediation Technologies & Technological Innovation)
Local Government Contact
Bill Sims, Manager
Water Resources, City of Nanaimo
Phone: (250) 756-5302