Canada’s first fully hydrogen-powered community is to be built and studied in Alberta.
Utility provider ATCO and real estate developer Qualico are partnering on what they are calling the Bremner neighbourhood in Strathcona County near Edmonton.
Construction of the project is scheduled to start this year. The first residents will be able to move in by 2025, the companies announced Tuesday morning.
“The intent is, with a pure hydrogen home, everything will be pretty much the same with respect to building these new homes. So the only thing that we’re really changing is the source of energy, which is from natural gas to pure hydrogen,” Qualico’s vice president of community development in northern Alberta Brad Armstrong explained.
“So the only changes that you might have are the regulators, or the meters, on the exterior part of the house. And then the furnace appliance itself.”
That means the cost of construction shouldn’t change much, he added.
The study will examine the logistics of delivering hydrogen to consumers as well as technological and regulatory needs. Existing legislation is only written for natural gas, ATCO Gas president Jason Sharpe pointed out.
“The energy cost is actually one of the things we really want to flush out with this study. Essentially, we expect hydrogen to be the same cost as natural gas with carbon tax by 2030. But how that goes through to someone’s house is really important to figure out what those economics look like and how we recover that. Because right now, the rules are not clear.”