Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman and Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti attended the opening of a new five megawatt heat and power facility as part of Markham, Ontario’s District Energy System.
Markham District Energy made a successful contract bid with the Ontario Power Authority back in 2006 to build a high efficiency natural gas plant to serve the provincial power grid. The first commercial operation of the Markham District Energy System, in December 2008, provided heating and cooling energy to IBM’s software laboratory. Since then another 20 buildings in Markham Centre have been connected to the system, including Motorola, Honeywell, YMCA, Bill Crothers Secondary School, Markham’s Civic Centre offices and a variety of residential high rises.
According to the Town of Markham, the high-efficiency district system reduces greenhouse gases in Markham Centre by 50 per cent.
Scarpitti said, “Since its initial commercial operation in 2000, the Markham District Energy facility has served as a model for other municipalities. We’re now looking at further advancements that will use solar thermal technologies, biogas and biomass fuel options.”
The new combined heat and power cogeneration facility produces enough electricity to power 5000 homes and the heat recovery system can provide heat for up to three million square feet of building space.
Markham District Energy President and CEO Bruce Ander says, “With a successful platform in place we’re planning a second district system in east Markham to serve Markham Stouffville Hospital, the new Town of Markham’s East Markham Community Centre and the new planned Cornell Centre development.”
The new East Markham system will begin construction in 2010-2011 to coincide with the Markham Stouffville Hospital expansion and Town of Markham construction of a new community centre and library.