Renewable Energy Framework

Continuing Down the Sustainability Path

Council approved the Renewable Energy Framework at the April 27, 2015 Council meeting.

The Renewable Energy Options Analysis Summary explores which renewable energy options are best suited for the Cochrane community. The Renewable Energy Framework - Draft, which was showcased during presentation to Council on December 8, 2014 , expands on the energy options introduced in the analysis summary. The framework is the next step in moving towards a municipal renewable energy policy.

Continuing down the sustainability path by pursuing renewable energy is consistent with the Town’s shared vision for the future. The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) identifies environmental stewardship, including the use of alternative energy, as a key objective for the Town. Likewise, the Cochrane Sustainability Plan (CSP) commits the town to using energy responsibly and efficiently. The CSP identifies alternative energy use as a key success measure for the Town’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

A Renewable Energy Framework is one among several sustainability initiatives being implemented by the Town. Other examples are the Zero Waste Framework, which includes strategies for moving Cochrane to an 80% waste stream diversion rate, and the Green Building Policyfor the implementation of green building technologies for new commercial, industrial, and institutional development.

RE Timeline

What types of renewable energy technologies will be part of this project?


There are two types of solar energy. Photovoltaic and solar thermal. Photovoltaic energy systems are used to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar (thermal) hot water systems are designed to produce hot water for uses such as washing dishes, showering and/or heating interior spaces.

The feasibility of a solar energy project depends on factors such as:

  • local solar radiation
  • site shading conditions
  • local climate conditions
  • electrical grid connection

With decreasing solar equipment prices and increasing power rates, solar technologies may become a popular alternative for residents and business owners.


Geo-exchange systems, also known as ground-source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, or earth energy systems, use energy in the earth’s crust heat or cool buildings. We will be investigating the applicability of geoexchange systems for residential and larger buildings.

Small Wind or Micro-Wind

Wind energy projects convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. The feasibility of a wind project is dependent on the wind speeds and wind characteristics at the project site. 

We will be investigating wind power projects that are most appropriate in a community setting (i.e. 10 kW and smaller). This information will help the Town better understand wind power opportunities and respond to future small wind applications within the Town’s boundary.

Biomass District Energy

Biomass district energy systems are centralized heat production units that use a variety of biomass fuel types to produce heat.

A typical biomass system includes the following major components:

  • Fuel storage
  • A boiler to convert fuel to heat (heat used to heat hot water)
  • Hot water distribution system
  • Energy transfer stations for each customer (one or two per system)

Micro-Hydro Pressure Reducing Valves

Pressure reducing valves (PRV) are used within many municipal water systems to manage pressure within pipes.

An alternative to using a PRV is to integrate a small in-line turbine within the pipe to generate electricity with excess pressure energy, instead of losing the energy through the valve.

There are currently 11 PRVs within the Town and we will investigate the feasibility of installing small in-line turbines.

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