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CPCS fills data gap to advance clean energy transition in Canada’s remote communities

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Work by CPCS researchers to estimate heat demand for non-residential buildings in remote communities contributes to Canada’s Remote Communities Energy Database.

Key points:

  • Study fills gap as minimal data exists on heat demand for non-residential buildings in remote communities that are not connected to an electrical grid or natural gas
  • CPCS estimated the total annual heating demand for commercial and institutional buildings in Canada’s 272 remote communities
  • Study for Natural Resources Canada part of a national effort to shift away from diesel and oil for the generation of heat and power in remote Canadian communities
  • Quantifying estimated total heat demand

This project matters because diesel and oil for heat and power is a major source of pollution and costly. Also, reliable information on energy demand is necessary to help inform decisions and policies for remote communities, indigenous communities and more in Canada.

But here’s the challenge, minimal data is available to understand heating demand in remote communities in terms of heating loads and how much fossil fuel is consumed by commercial and institutional buildings. Moreover, estimating this data is difficult as energy usage varies based on multiple factors including the time of day, the building and more.

Deep energy and analytical expertise by CPCS:

  • Collected heat demand data for commercial and institutional buildings located in remote Canadian communities
  • Developed models to estimate heating demand of commercial and institutional buildings in rural and remote communities
  • Applied these models to several case study communities to assess the strengths and limitations of the data and estimation methods
  • Discussed the potential for biomass district heating systems in remote communities

Impact on the future of energy in remote communities

“CPCS made best use of limited data to provide an understanding of energy usage,” says Patrick Forestell, infrastructure analytics expert at CPCS.

This will help inform national energy policy and act as a starting point to help decision makers decarbonize remote communities.

Overall, the project has contributed to Canada’s Remote Communities Energy Database as the country works toward reducing and eliminating the use of diesel and fuel oil and connecting remote communities to other energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro or biomass.