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The great renewable resource — human waste — eyed for energy source in Metro Van

July 10th, 2012 · 54 Comments

The Olympic Village’s neighbourhood energy utility was the first in North America to extract heat for the plant from sewage.

The planners were a little antsy at the time, but felt they had to go with it because nearby residents had gone nuts over the idea of generating heat by burning biomass, i.e. woodchips. To some, that brought images of a beehive burner to mind (inaccurate, but whatever).

However, now that it’s been in operation for two years, other municipalities are looking at tapping into the sewer system for their own neighbourhood utilities, whose construction could potentially be shared by developers.

Metro Van, as a result, is trying to figure out what the rules are going to be for that, as well as looking ahead to a time when the region might set up its own neighbourhood energy utility.

I wrote this story to find out a bit more about what’s going on.

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