International District Energy Association Hosts Beijing District Heating Group for Discussion of Thermal Energy and CHP

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Industry association welcomes leadership of Beijing District Heating Group for international dialogue and knowledge exchange

Rob Thornton of IDEA and Liu Shui Yang of BDHG meet in Cambridge, MA.

The scale of district heating across Beijing is enormous and we applaud BDHG for their impressive achievements in expanding the heating network, reducing customer energy intensity and emissions while lowering the overall carbon footprint for Beijing.

On September 25, 2015 in Cambridge, MA the International District Energy Association (IDEA) hosted the Beijing District Heating Group (BDHG) during their study tour of North America. Friday’s activities included presentations from Mr. Liu Shui Yang, President of BDHG; Rob Thornton, President and CEO of IDEA; Bob Manning, Director of Engineering and Utilities of Harvard University; and Garen Demirchian, Managing Principal of Vanderweil Engineers. As part of the group’s larger trip to North America, BDHG also visited with Doherty Engineering and Enwave Energy in Toronto, Ontario and toured the East River Generating Station in Manhattan as guests of the Con Edison Steam Company of New York.

Mr. Liu Shui Yang of BDHG educated the group about the current state of district heating in China, bringing awareness to the structure of China’s energy portfolio and the country’s goals for fuel source distribution in the future. As part of a key urban environmental strategy for Beijing, BDHG is planning to invest over $100 billion RMB (approx $20 billion USD) by 2030 to accelerate higher efficiency and lower emissions through district energy deployment. With significant changes underway in China to move toward a cleaner and more resilient energy future, the representatives of BDHG were interested to learn about local, state and federal policies in place in the US that help advance the district energy and combined heat and power (CHP) industries.

IDEA presented findings on the North American district energy industry along with policy and regulatory updates. Host Harvard University presented historical and technical information on the Harvard University district heating and cooling system, followed by a tour of Harvard University’s Blackstone Steam Plant, a vintage 1906 powerhouse on Memorial Drive in Cambridge that is being retrofitted for microgrid operations. The service area of the Blackstone Steam Plant covers a substantial portion of Harvard’s campuses and approximately 90% of its steam output is recycled back to the plant as condensate.

Last month, IDEA signed an international memorandum of understanding (MOU) in conjunction with the Korea District Heating & Cooling Association, the China District Heating Association, Euroheat & Power, and the Ministry of Energy of the Mongol Government. The recent meeting between IDEA and BDHG reinforces the points agreed upon in the MOU, most importantly the effort to increase international collaboration and knowledge exchange among participating nations.

Rob Thornton, President & CEO of IDEA, says “We are pleased to welcome President Liu Shui Yang and his colleagues from Beijing District Heating Group to the United States and to Cambridge, MA for a tour of Harvard University’s district energy/combined heat and power microgrid. The scale of district heating across Beijing is enormous and we applaud BDHG for their impressive achievements in expanding the heating network, reducing customer energy intensity and emissions while lowering the overall carbon footprint for Beijing. They are making good progress on their strategy of 'blue sky, green energy, and smart heating'.”

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) was founded in 1909 with the mission to foster the success of its members as leaders in providing reliable, economical, efficient and environmentally-sound district energy services. The association’s membership consists of over 2000 representatives from utilities, municipalities, universities, hospitals, military bases, airports, industrial parks and other physical plant systems engaged in supplying thermal energy for heating, cooling and process uses. IDEA also represents engineers, architects, consultants, manufacturers and finance specialists who supply services and equipment for district energy systems.

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Robert Thornton
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International District Energy Association
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