Surrey City Energy Building

Learn how Surrey City Energy supplies high-density buildings in City Centre with heat and hot water.

Surrey City Energy (SCE) is meeting the increasing heating demands of our growing population by advancing a hot water district energy system throughout City Centre.

Surrey City Energy's Goals

Key to meeting the City’s Community Climate Action Strategy and Community Energy Emissions Plan, Surrey City Energy's goals are to:

  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • Generate heating and hot water more efficiently
  • Keep energy affordable
  • Deliver energy security through community-level energy solutions
  • Transition to local, low-impact renewable energy sources
  • Raise awareness of energy sustainability

What is District Energy?

District energy, also known as community energy or neighbourhood energy, is a system that distributes heat (thermal) energy, typically in the form of hot water, from a central energy centre through a network of closed-loop underground pipes to residential, commercial and institutional buildings throughout City Centre.

The district energy system interfaces indirectly via heat exchangers with the buildings’ space heating and domestic hot water systems. No other heat sources are required. The first district energy system built in City Centre is located under the new City Hall building and Plaza. It uses the earth as a heat source by tapping into an underground geoexchange field through 400 geothermal vertical boreholes about 200 feet below the surface.

The expanding district energy system in Surrey will serve most of City's growing downtown population with reliable, cost-competitive and cleaner heating and hot water services. City Centre development is characterized by high-density, transit-oriented and clean-energy community. These qualities make the area viable for district energy.

Advantages of District Energy

District energy systems offer many benefits:

For Customers

  • Reliability, convenience and comfort
  • Lower capital, operations and maintenance costs
  • Stable prices, competitive rates
  • Worry-free, simplified operations

For Developers

  • Increased marketability
  • Space savings, design flexibility
  • Cost-effective solution to new building standards

For the City and Community

  • Energy dollars stay in the community
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Energy security, fuel flexibility
  • Awareness of energy sustainability

For the Environment

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Cleaner air
  • Greener future

West Village Energy Centre

West Village Energy Centre, located at 13231 Central Ave, is the City’s first permanent energy centre. Our plan for sustainable growth includes an integrated hot water pipe network covering the City Centre and serving tens of thousands of customers. As the network expands, adding additional piping and new energy centres, the West Village Energy Centre will serve as the backbone of Surrey City Energy.

In 2020, Surrey City Energy expanded its underground pipe network to serve five new buildings in City Centre, bringing the total number of district-energy connected buildings to 17. A similar level of growth is planned for 2021.

In 2021, 60% of the natural gas used at the West Village Energy Centre is in the form of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) that is produced at the Surrey Biofuel Facility. The Surrey Biofuel Facility is where all the organic waste that collected from Surrey’s residents is processed into compost with RNG. The RNG is piped through the natural gas grid and used to power the City’s waste connection vehicles, fleet vehicles, and provide sustainable heating to all residents and businesses connected to the district energy system.

A mandatory connection requirement has been established for new developments over a certain size within Surrey City Energy's service area.

District Energy Strategy

Shaping a Sustainable, Renewable Energy Future

Surrey’s district energy strategy is being developed over 3 phases of growth:

  1. Initially, temporary energy centres are installed in multiple areas within City Centre.
  2. As demand for heat energy grows, temporary centres are replaced with permanent centralized energy centres, like the West Village Energy Centre.
  3. Further investment will take place to integrate the use of large-scale renewable energy sources.

Long-Term Vision

Our long-term vision includes an integrated hot water district energy system covering the entire City Centre area. Over time, this will include multiple energy centres with a range of low-carbon renewable energy sources, including geoexchange, biomass from local clean wood waste, waste heat from various sources, and renewable natural gas from the city’s curbside organic waste collection.

Surrey City Energy has a 30-year plan to build out its City Centre network. It will include three high density nodes, centered around existing rapid transit stations (Surrey Central, King George and Gateway). A separate district energy network will be constructed at each node, and eventually all three networks will be connected to create an integrated system.

Surrey City Energy is currently in the planning phases of a new facility that will use heat pumps to extract waste heat from the sewer system to heat the water in the district energy network. This facility is expected to come online in the next five years. A closed-loop system, which relies on residents' local resources in sewer heat and organics, builds a resilient, low-emission district energy system.

Energy Rates

Surrey City Energy's rate structure compares favourably to other district energy systems and energy providers of both electricity and gas boiler systems. Rates are approved annually by City Council, with advice from an independent External Rate Review Panel. The City regulates Surrey City Energy in the absence of the BC Utilities Commission review that oversees private systems.

Surrey City Energy is a City-owned district energy utility that operates through the City’s Engineering Department. By owning and operating Surrey City Energy, the City of Surrey ensures that development of the utility is coordinated effectively with other city functions and is consistent with the long-term vision of an economically dynamic, cleaner and healthier City Centre.

Explore photos of the West Village Energy Centre, featuring the public artwork, Blankets:

Contact

If you have any questions or comments about Surrey City Energy, contact surreycityenergy@surrey.ca.