Today, City Council made a decision to further advance an important part of this development: how best to provide heat and hot water for Blatchford residents in a carbon neutral, 100% renewable way. The proven technology of a district energy system is a leading candidate to provide this source of heat, and the motion unanimously passed by Council allows us time to explore this option and strengthen this vision even further.
Council also directed administration to engage the city’s utility provider – EPCOR – to work through the utility model and explore the renewable energy solution that makes the most sense for Edmonton. Rather than trying to learn and build a utility model on the fly, we will work with the experts to arrive at the best solution.
Much of Council’s conversations on this topic revolved around the significant capital this system will require in order to be operational. Council agreed to advocate directly to the federal and provincial governments to support Blatchford – a development that embodies everything their climate goals are attempting to achieve. We likely cannot achieve the ambitious goals of this development without other orders of government partnering with us to achieve our vision.
All of this likely means a year’s delay for the Blatchford redevelopment project. While there are a few high profile delays that continue to frustrate Council, this is a delay that I am more than comfortable with. It allows us time for a more thorough review of the utility model and ensure we provide the builders who will ultimately work in Blatchford with absolute certainty. This work will only serve to strengthen the vision for Blatchford, and the case for climate leadership support from other orders of government.
Blatchford remains an ambitious vision, but it also demonstrates incredible leadership. And as leaders, this is what you expect of us.