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Great Lakes Article:

Film star Alec Baldwin helps promote deep water cooling of Toronto buildings
By Maria Babbage
Canoe CNews
Published August 17th, 2004

TORONTO (CP) - Hollywood heavyweight Alec Baldwin heaped praise on Canada's "forward-thinking" approach to energy Tuesday at the launch of a new system that uses the frigid waters of Lake Ontario to cool downtown office buildings.

The system is nothing short of a "miracle," gushed Baldwin, 46, the square-jawed star of blockbuster films like The Hunt for Red October and Ghosts of Mississippi who moonlights as an environmental activist.

"This is an important signal you are sending not only to your fellow countrymen but to the world," Baldwin told the gathered crowd.

"There's no project on a municipal level this size that's been attempted or has been executed before like this."

Unconventional thinking seemed to be at the heart of Tuesday's event, which looked like a Hollywood premiere, complete with a blasting techno soundtrack, fog machine, and bizarre floor show of twirling gymnasts contorting themselves around a large ring suspended from the ceiling.

Enwave, the private company co-owned by the City of Toronto and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System that developed the system, also collected $10 million from the federal government Tuesday to expand the project.

"As Canadians, we take a lot of pride in being leaders rather than followers," said federal Human Resources Minister Joe Volpe as he announced the funding.

The Ontario government also lent its support to the venture, announcing informal discussions with the company to extend the system to the Ontario legislature -an estimated $14-million expansion project.

"How could anyone here in this room today doubt that Ontario has what it takes to solve the problems of today and to come up with creative solutions for tomorrow?" asked Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan.

Baldwin lauded Enwave and Canadian officials behind the project as "heroes" -but not before a vitriolic condemnation of U.S. President George W. Bush.

"You have to have a government that's not sitting on top of you and crushing you with their ignorance, like we have in the United States right now," Baldwin said.

"You have to have forward-thinking, open-minded . . .people who face the scientific facts, and here in Ontario, you have that in the provincial Minister of Energy Dwight Duncan."

The deep water cooling system draws lake water five kilometres from the city's shoreline to a downtown pumping station, where the 4 C water chills the coolant used to air-condition offices along the company's closed supply loop.

Twenty downtown buildings are already connected to the system, including the Air Canada Centre and Royal Bank Plaza. The company also provides steam-based heating services through its 20-kilometre network of underground pipes.

Enwave's latest venture, about 15 years in the making, will produce enough air conditioning to cool nearly 100 buildings or seven million square metres of office space.

The company claims the system will free up 59 megawatts from Ontario's overtaxed electrical grid and remove 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air -roughly the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road.

Enwave chief executive Dennis Fotinos said the plan is to stretch the system eastward along the Toronto waterfront and boosting its capacity by an additional 30 per cent.

The 13 buildings at the Ontario legislature alone would use roughly 20 per cent of the system's total capacity, said Fotinos, a former Toronto city councillor. All customers along the northern stretch would help bear the cost of putting in the system.


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