City Centre District Energy Utility
Richmond, British Columbia, CANADA

A Public-Private Partnership (P3) providing the City of Richmond with a cost-effective District Energy Utility (DEU) designed to meet current and future energy needs.


The Client

Lulu Island Energy Company (LIEC) is a wholly owned municipal corporation established by the City of Richmond, BC to provide sustainable energy at competitive prices. Located 20 minutes south of Vancouver, BC, Richmond is a growing city that is committed to becoming a sustainable, low-carbon community.

The Opportunity

To advance its sustainability initiatives, the City of Richmond identified district energy for high density mixed-use urban villages in the City Centre area as one of the core building blocks for its 2041 Official Community Plan and GHG reduction targets. In 2016, the City began a competitive process to select a partner for a large-scale DEU to service the City Centre area.

The Solution

Picture1Building on the success of the existing Oval Village DEU, Corix and LIEC entered into a P3 Agreement in 2022 for Corix to design, build, finance and operate the City Centre DEU. In cooperation with Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), the project will receive up to $175 million in project debt financing. The City Centre DEU will service the Oval Village, Capstan, Aberdeen and Brighouse neighbourhoods’ heating and cooling needs. The project is an integral part of the City’s climate change strategy and will help meet its aggressive Community Energy and Emissions Plan goals with projected greenhouse gas (GHG) savings of one million tonnes by 2050 when compared to conventional energy sources.

City Centre Energy System

The City Centre DEU will connect 170 new residential and mixed-use commercial development sites and 50 million square feet of floor space upon full build-out, estimated in 2050. Current development bylaws require buildings in the City Centre area to connect to DEU system if available, have mechanical systems that are “DE-Ready”, or contain their own on-site Low-Carbon Energy Plants (LCEPs). Once the surrounding area has reached sufficient density, the DE-Ready buildings and LCEPs can be connected with the single, large-scale DEU providing the neighbourhoods with low-carbon thermal energy. The future City Centre DEU energy plant will recover heat produced by wastewater from the regional sewer main on Gilbert Road as the anchor baseload technology along with air-source heat pumps primarily used in LCEPs and natural gas boilers for peaking and backup. 

Oval Village District Energy Utility

Constructed and in operation since 2014, the Oval Village DEU will form part of the larger City Centre DEU. 

The Richmond Olympic Oval was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics and is the namesake for the 28-acre Oval Village waterfront community. The City saw an opportunity to incorporate a DEU and use it as a foundation for a wider-reaching, sustainable, and environmentally responsible energy system that would support nearby high-density development. 

Corix worked with LIEC to determine Richmond’s short-and long-term energy needs, and considered its unique requirements related to density, a high water table, earthquake risks, municipal by-laws, and long-term energy and sustainability goals. In 2011, after being selected through a competitive bid to complete the feasibility assessment and due diligence processes, Corix’s team of experts created business models, determined a cost-effective financing arrangement and ultimately entered into an agreement with LIEC in 2014 whereby Corix designed, built, financed and continues to operate a customized, scalable and flexible DEU.

Oval Village Energy system

Picture2The Oval Village DEU system currently has a capacity of 15 MWt and provides space heating and domestic hot water services to 3.5 million square feet of floor space across 13 developments. The developments are served by three natural gas-fired Interim Energy Centres. A sewer heat recovery energy plant being designed as part of the City Centre DEU will serve current Oval Village developments with the target to provide over 70% of annual energy needs from a low-carbon energy source.  


Floor Area Served

50 million sq. ft. of connected floor space at build-out (2050)

System Overview

  • Heating and Cooling
  • 176 MWt peak heating and cooling loads with target 70% low-carbon energy source
  • 22 km DPS
  • 160 ETS
  • 32 LCEPs

Type of Partnership

30-year Master P3 Agreement with up to $175 million in CIB funding

Source of Low-Carbon Energy

Natural Gas (Current)
Sewer Heat Recovery, Air-Source Heat Pumps (Future)

GHG Savings

1 million tCO2e  by 2050 or 34,000 tCO2e /year on average