The Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre (MGEC)

The Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre (MGEC) is a deeper greening project initiated under the Energy Services Acquisition Program (ESAP) to modernizing the District Energy System, which provides heating services to over 80 buildings and cooling services to nearly 70 buildings in the National Capital Region. The MGEC project is a demonstration of the Government of Canada leading by example in the context of climate change, by making its own operations greener and adopting technologies that significantly cut carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency, increase safety and reliability, and ensure a safer future for our children and generations to follow.


The ESAP program is being implemented in two stages.  ESAP Stage 1 is the Energy Service Modernization Project which is being delivered through a Public-Private Partnership with Innovate Energy.  The ESAP Energy Services Modernization Project has been evaluated under Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) of 2012.  ESAP Stage 2 is the Deeper Greening Program to further decarbonize the National Capital Region District Energy System. The MGEC, as a Stage 2 project, is an amendment to the Energy Service Modernization Project and will be evaluated under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) 0f 2019 as a basic project. 


The MGEC is subject to Public Services and Procurement Canada and the National Capital Commission (NCC) review and approval.  The NCC will be responsible for issuing a Federal Approval for early works and the complete project  under the National Capital Act, therefore being a federal authority required to also make a determination under IAA.


The MGEC project will be constructed on Crown owned lands at 83 Sacré-Coeur Blvd. in Gatineau, Quebec.  The site chosen is currently an asphalt parking lot located east of the existing adjacent to the heritage designated National Printing Bureau (NPB) complex. It is an irregular wedge-shaped site, bound on the north by Highway 5 and the Blvd Maisonneuve off ramp; on the south by the Cégep de l'Outaouais, Notre Dame de L'Île /Centre Jeunesse community services, and the fifteen storey Le Faubourg de L'Île apartment building; and on the west by a tree stand and drainage swale separating the NPB complex from the proposed site.


The scope of the project includes the construction of a new modern central heating and cooling plant built underground with an interconnected heating and cooling network as well as a new 120 kV electrical substation powered by clean Hydro Quebec electricity. When complete and operational, district heating and cooling energy produced at the MGEC will be dispatched throughout the National Capital Region District Energy System to the interconnected federal buildings. 


The MGEC project will provide both environmental and social benefits to the surrounding area.  These benefits include:

  • cutting carbon pollution through further reduction of GHG emissions from the National Capital Region District Energy System to 92% of the 2005 baseline;
  • building the energy center underground  with only a small pavilion that provides the entrance to the facility to minimize the visual impact and compliment the heritage designated NPB complex;
  • repurposing the majority of an existing parking lot into a publicly accessible walking paths and gardens, the energy center entrance plaza offers hardscaped areas between bands of plantings that provide access to the entrance and extend to seating areas to the south and east of the pavilion;
  • producing heating and cooling energy using only Quebec's hydroelectricity requiring no large chimneys or fuel storage tanks;
  • the implementation of a tree compensation plan that will replace the 112 trees displaced with 227 new native species plantings; and
  • reducing storm water impacts using innovative landscape architecture

The structural composition of the MGEC central heating and cooling energy centre is comprised of two distinct structural design components; the Main Plant and the Pavilion:

  1. Main Plant Area (~ 3,550 m2): The Main Plant consists of an underground plant for 30 MW of electric boilers and 38 MW of electric chillers with a green roof cover.  The structure of the Main Plant consists of reinforced concrete walls, concrete raft slab foundation, reinforced concrete columns, beams and roof slab.
  2. Staff/Entrance Pavilion Area (~380 m2): The Pavilion structure shares the raft foundation of the underground plant and projects above the ground with a combination of mass-timber, porcelain panel cladding, concrete, steel, and structural glazing elements.  It has glass, wood, porcelain, and metal features showcasing green energy solutions.

Other elements within the MGEC project scope includes the following:

  1. MGEC Substation Area (~2,485 m2): A new 120 kV electrical substation will be built on a small triangular piece of 83 Sacré-Coeur Blvd. Crown owned land located east of the Cégep de l'Outaouais. The electrical connection between the energy centre and the new substation will be made utilizing an underground electrical ductbank on the property.
  2. Distribution Piping: Underground distribution piping consists of supply and return lines for low temperature hot water, chilled water and cooling water services connecting the MGEC energy center to the existing ESAP Stage 1 underground distribution piping network.  The piping will be installed between the MGEC energy center and Boulevard Maisonneuve/Boulevard Sacré-Coeur ramps.  

The MGEC construction project will be implemented in two phases.  The first phase is the defined by Early Works starting in January 2023 to the end of June 2023.  The Early Works construction activities for the MGEC energy center, substation, and underground distribution piping lands includes:

  • Site mobilization, fencing, site stripping and clearing, selective tree removal for permanent and temporary construction lands for construction staging and parking, set up of temporary construction complex and guard posts, trenching of temporary power and site services, excavation for dewatering, foundations, distribution piping, and shoring, . 

The second phase will be the remaining scope of the MGEC project will begin in July 2023 and expected to be completed by the fall of 2025 with commissioning activities completed by fall 2025. The final MGEC project works include the following:

  • Construction of the entrance Pavilion and underground Main Plant buildings; installation of underground distribution piping, electrical and mechanical equipment; constructing a 120 kV electrical substation; final grading and landscaping. 

The majority of the construction exterior work is expected use a combination mechanized equipment such as a tower crane, excavators, skid-steer loader and dump trucks along with hand-held power tools such as small electric, gas or pneumatic operated tools (i.e. quick cut concrete saw, chipping tools, welding machines, and grinders etc.). Detours and closures to public facilities are not expected as the result of this project.


Latest update

The Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre (Quebec)– January 26, 2024 The authority issued its Notice of Determination and determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
2 Notice of Determination- PSPC and NCC - January 26, 2024
1 The Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre (MGEC) - October 26, 2022


Environment, Health and Safety
Public Services and Procurement Canada
11 Laurier Street
Portage III, Place du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0S5

  • Location

    • The Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre (Quebec)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Other, not otherwise specified
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

  • Authorities

    • National Capital Commission
    • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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