The International District Energy Association and Canadian District Energy Association Announce Integration

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Associations integrate to promote enhanced cross-border advocacy and broader visibility for district energy industry

The International District Energy Association (IDEA), a non-profit industry association formed in 1909, with approximately 1600 members from 26 countries, announced an agreement with the Canadian District Energy Association (CDEA) to integrate the membership of CDEA into IDEA. The CDEA was initially formed in 1994 and has grown to represent the interests of approximately 400 members from Canada and northern Europe. The integration of CDEA into IDEA will allow for enhanced cross-border advocacy and broader visibility for the district energy industry in North America and beyond.

According to Robert Thornton, President & CEO of IDEA, “The integration of CDEA will deliver significant benefits to both organizations and their members. Since the missions of the two associations are strongly aligned, integrating CDEA into IDEA will create operational synergies that should enhance opportunities for education and outreach. We believe this will stimulate more cross-border policy discussions on local thermal energy infrastructure and will help to enhance awareness of the many economic and environmental benefits of district energy. The Canadian district energy industry is strong and continues to grow with new municipal systems and broad government support. This integration will enhance the natural inclination of both parties to learn from one another and leverage existing resources to maximize benefits to our member organizations.”

As agreed by the respective Boards of Directors, IDEA has established a Canadian Forum to help prioritize issues of importance in Canada and to offer guidance on advocacy and policy matters. The association will also undertake a number of cross-border activities to promote beneficial exchange between Canadian and U.S. municipalities and institutions with the aim to advance and grow the district energy industry across North America.

In 2011, IDEA and CDEA presented a successful joint annual conference in Toronto, “District Energy/CHP 2011: Essential Infrastructure for Energy-Efficient Communities” which attracted over 800 industry professionals from North America and beyond.

Bruce Ander, President & CEO of Markham District Energy and former Chairman of CDEA, stated, “The CDEA has provided leadership during a period of growth and innovation in the Canadian district energy industry. The CDEA Board of Directors saw a need to expand operations and enhance member resources, and an integration with IDEA will meet the demands of a growing industry and benefit all parties. A relatively young industry association with fewer members can tap into the advantages of a partner organization that has a well-established infrastructure, strong international reputation and well-defined role as thought leader of the industry. By merging, CDEA can scale up its efforts to represent the district energy industry in Canada and better meet the demands of a rapidly growing industry.”

IDEA President Robert Thornton agreed, concluding, “The CDEA has delivered value to members for the past 17 years on a relatively modest budget; and with the support of an active Board and key industry players. However, the job is now larger and CDEA and IDEA leaders recognized a key opportunity to collaborate more closely and scale up operations to increase impact. IDEA will continue to provide a high level of services to existing members and welcomes Canadian members to leverage IDEA’s existing infrastructure and role as an international thought leader as we work together to continue to deliver the mission through advocacy, capacity building, education, networking and research in an improved and more effective way.”

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) is a nonprofit 501(c)6 industry trade association founded in 1909 and governed by a 22-member Board of Directors. IDEA represents approximately 1600 members who are district heating and cooling executives, managers, engineers, consultants and equipment suppliers from 26 countries. Association members operate district energy systems owned by utilities, municipalities, hospitals, military bases and airports throughout North America and around the world. The largest district heating system in the United States, owned by Consolidated Edison of New York, is an IDEA member, as is the nation's largest district cooling system, Thermal Chicago.

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