Feds prequalify consortiums to bid on heating and cooling modernization program

Cliff Heating and Cooling Plant / Supreme Court
The Cliff Heating and Cooling Plant is located near the Supreme Court of Canada.

The federal government has narrowed the field of companies vying for a 30-year contract to upgrade and operate the massive system that heats and cools more than 80 buildings in the National Capital Region.

On Friday, Public Services and Procurement Canada said it had prequalified two consortiums to bid on a full request for proposals:

  • Innovate Energy, made up of Black & McDonald, ENGIE Services, PCL and WSP; and

  • Rideau Energy Partners, made up of NRG DG Development, Pomerleau and SNC-Lavalin

The federal government uses a district energy system connected to central plants, including the Cliff facility near the Supreme Court, and some 14 kilometres of underground piping to provide heat using steam and cooling with chilled water.

This system is used to adjust the temperature for properties across Ottawa and Gatineau, including the Parliament buildings and the U.S. embassy, among many others, totalling some 20.45 million square feet housing in excess of 50,000 public servants.

The current system was constructed between 50 and 100 years ago, the federal government says, and uses outdated technology that is at the end of its service life.

In its place, the federal government wants to use environmentally friendly technologies such as biofuel and wood chips and expects to save $750 million over 40 years.

It’s looking to enter a public-private partnership and hire a consortium to design, build and finance the new system, as well as operate and maintain it for 30 years.

The project will draw on $2.1 billion included in the 2016 federal budget for repairs and retrofits to a range of government properties and buildings across the country.

A contract is expected to be awarded in spring 2019.