Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC)

Let’s work this through:

Deep lake water cooling uses cold water pumped from the bottom of a lake as a heat sink for climate control systems. This technology is being used in Toronto as a green and renewable energy source. Initially, the technology was developed to help air condition office buildings during the summer. However, in the last few years the technology is being used for large scale industrial cooling activity.

For example, several large scale data centres in Toronto are using deep lake water cooling both to lower costs and to position their facilities as environmentally friendly. One company recently stated that deep lake water cooling reduces energy consumption in a data centre by up to 90% compared with traditional air conditioning and also results in reduced green house gas emissions.

Data centres are the facilities where large quantities of digital information are archived (for example, Google and Microsoft operated dozens of large data centers around the world). They can use as much energy as a small pulp mill (15MW to 30 MW) per year with most of that cost going towards cooling the large data storage devices.

Data centres typically use a significant amount of space (15,000 to 100,000 square feet or more) and employ a relatively small staff – normally between 30 and 100 or so.

I guess the issue is will we ever get to a point where we can do a feasilibity study on this for New Brunswick? We could bring in the Toronto company that shows it can work, scope out the cost of setting up a deep water cooling energy park in – I don’t know somewhere outside of Saint John (or maybe Belledune?) – and at least get a real idea of the costs and benefits of this type of thing. If we could generate enough ‘energy’ to cool four or five large data centres at a cost well below NB Power – that might be the value proposition right there.

Think about it. Even it if costs $20 million or even more to install the system, if you can generate 300 or 400 high paying data centre jobs – with no additional incentives – you would get payback on that $20 million in four years (not including the multiplier effect). 400 jobs, $12,000 in taxes paid (HST, personal income and property) = $4.8 million in new tax revenue each year.

Imagine the political resonance if you attracted 300-400 $75,000/year data centre jobs to Belledune and the young people needed to work in them?

Or maybe the technology could be used for some other industrial cooling efforts?

Or we can put billions into nuclear or some other form of energy and hope for the best.

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3 Responses to Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC)

  1. mikel says:

    There are lots of good ideas out there, but the reality is that government refuses to take a lead in ANY ventures.

    The Toronto example is a good one, it is owned by Enwave, formerly a Co-op that sold innovative environmental solutions mainly to non profits in downtown TO, it went private to get more capital and is now owned primarily by the ontario municipal workers pension fund. The rest is a small percentage owned by the city of toronto.

    So to accurately make a parrallel forget the data centres that may never materialize anyway, but ask what potential customers are available in Saint John today?

    And more importantly, what ‘co-op’ or organization will start the ball rolling? As has been mentioned numerous times, New Brunswick has a pension fund of $6 billion, virtually NONE of which is invested in the province.

    I suspect there would be even less support from the public in NB, the Toronto example is instructive -it was BUREAUCRATS and the non profit sector that got this ball rolling-NOT the private sector (its board of directors still has numerous public administrators).

    So forget all the comments about failed businesspeople-how much support do you hear for non profits or bureaucrats in New Brunswick EVER.

  2. David Campbell says:

    That’s good inside baseball Mikel but it makes me feel even better about at least looking at this opportunity. And as for your point about existing customers I think that Saint John is rolling out a system like this for municipal buildings. I guess I was thinking more of a contained ‘energy park’ concept somewhere as a unique ED tool. But certainly within the City of Saint John they should look at scalability and potential ED uses.

  3. mikel says:

    Every opportunity should be looked at and analyzed-that’s your job:) I’ll repeat another example that can help a good many New Brunswickers out more than tax cuts and doesn’t involve much work at all-namely, a tax credit on the purchase of high efficiency wood stoves, which uses up to 1/8th less wood-thats a huge savings in wood costs as well as labour.

    The last stats I saw showed that New Brunswickers haven’t replaced their stoves in over a decade, and of course its only one third of New Brunswickers that heat with them-but thats still substancial. Most people simply don’t think much about it-one of the problems when energy is cheap.

    A HE wood stove only costs about $1500, but thats still $1000 more than a cheapo regular stove. However, if the government simply gave a $300 or $500 tax credit, hell, if the govenrment just MENTIONED it, then that would make a big difference.

    My point is that if even a butthead easy thing to do like that won’t get done, then what hope is there of government leading the way on alternative energy? Your own example of how the province kiboshed the Sussex area natural gas industrial park is proof that they simply don’t want to relinquish control to regional ideas.

    That of course doesn’t mean you don’t talk about them, it means you talk about them MORE. It’s only when people start to realize just how many opportunities their government is bypassing that they will get mad as hell and not take it anymore.

    But even forget deep water cooling-check out geothermal, check out methane. The City of Waterloo won the ‘greenest community’ primarily because of a partnership that has it selling methane from its landfill to a private company.

    Geo thermal doesn’t require a huge oceanic pipeline-to build geothermal all you need is a regular old development company to dig down into the ground. It’s expensive at first (but new buildings need a basement dug anyway), but is dirt cheap to run and nothing breaks down. A pipe simply goes down into the ground and regulates air temperature-no need for cooling OR heating. But some readers may remember that in the nineties some companies in TO wanted to use geothermal but it was quickly made illegal by the city because they didn’t know anything about it.

    That’s Newtons basic law. Waterloo won the ‘most intelligent community’ award last year, and two weeks ago the geniuses latest act was to prohibit a private store from putting up a small wind generator to generate their own green power all because the city ‘doesn’t have a policy’. I know you like your blog title, but really- “It’s POLITICS, stupid”:)

    And yes you should continue to talk about that-in fact maybe you should start talking to some Green Party people since that’s where the only political support is going to come from. You might even want to think of running for them!

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