Two centuries ago, the waters of Lake Ontario facilitated commerce and helped the fledgling city of Toronto blossom into an economic powerhouse. Today, those waters are helping Toronto as it pursues one of the most ambitious climate strategies in North America: net zero by 2040. Supporting this effort is a district cooling project operated by Enwave Energy, a company in which Ontario Teachers’ acquired joint ownership in 2021.
By pumping cold water from the bottom Lake Ontario and piping it through a closedloop system under Toronto’s downtown core, Enwave’s Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC) system delivers low-carbon, renewable cooling to almost 100 Toronto buildings. While Enwave operates the system, it benefits from an innovative partnership with the city’s water utility. The two companies share water infrastructure that ultimately delivers clean drinking water to Torontonians while enabling hospitals, data centres and other large buildings to eliminate the use of carbon-intensive chiller facilities.
Enwave says its system reduces energy usage and emissions by over 80% compared with traditional air conditioning.
Enwave operates one of North America’s largest low-carbon district energy systems. With more Toronto building owners and developers attracted to the economies of scale that its system offers, it has embarked on a major expansion that will see it boost the DLWC system’s capacity by 40%. Ultimately, the DLWC system aims to displace up to 73 megawatts of energy at peak from Toronto’s electric grid.
Enwave also develops smaller-scale geothermal energy systems for developers. And on Prince Edward Island, where space is limited, the company operates a district energy system that converts municipal solid waste and biomass into energy for heating and hot water, reducing the volume of every waste tonne produced by 90%.
"At Enwave, we recognize the role that district energy plays in the transition to a low-carbon economy. As the built environment accounts for 37% of global emissions, Enwave is focused on accelerating commercially scalable carbon mitigation strategies that address building needs. In line with Ontario Teachers’ desire to achieve clear, measurable real-world environmental benefits and our shared goal of achieving net zero by 2050, we are embarking on ambitious and impactful decarbonization strategies that will provide significant carbon reductions in our district heating and cooling networks and enable the transition to net zero."
Carlyle Coutinho, CEO