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District Energy Electrification

Rapidly decarbonizing city buildings: carbon-free thermal energy powered by renewables

Illustration showing delivery of eSteam

Vicinity’s District Energy Electrification Plan

With the largest portfolio of district energy systems across the United States – touching more than 220 million square feet of customer space – Vicinity Energy’s electrification plan will bring widescale building decarbonization at a much faster pace than alternatives.

Vicinity is determined. With a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we’re already actively working towards electrifying our district energy systems. We have a multi-pronged electrification strategy and execution plan, including the installation of innovative technologies like electric boilers, industrial-scale heat pumps, and thermal salt batteries.  

Vicinity is acting now to meet the demands of our customers, our communities and our planet.

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Sometimes, the solution is right under your feet.


Access to abundant, reliable, and clean energy is a priority for many U.S. cities, states, and businesses. Fortunately, many cities around the country have an incredible and unique solution to decarbonize quickly…right under their feet: district energy electrification. Though it may sound like a novel idea, the concept has taken off in other leading European and Canadian cities. These cities are using their district energy infrastructure (a network of underground steam pipes) to deliver clean thermal energy generated by carbon-free electricity systems. As renewable energy sources grow in abundance and policy makers create pathways for its adoption and affordability, district energy systems (like Vicinity’s) can quickly pivot away from fossil fuels and make a dramatic impact on emissions reductions targets.

The potential for district energy to be a key tool in achieving net zero carbon emissions cannot be understated; district energy electrification is one of our biggest opportunities to green our cities now.

Utilizing Industrial-Scale Heat Pumps

Vicinity is partnering with Germany-based MAN Energy Solutions to develop low-temperature source heat pump systems for steam generation. We plan to install an industrial-scale heat pump complex at our Kendall facility in Cambridge by 2026.

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Executives from Vicinity Energy and Man Energy post for a photo celebrating a new partnership between the companies.

Electrifying Boston and Cambridge

With the help of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, we kicked off our electrification plans with the deconstruction of the steam turbine at our Kendall Green Energy Facility, paving the way for the installation of our new 42 MW electric boiler.

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An Innovative Approach to a Cleaner Environment

With decades of building and managing the largest energy districts in the U.S., Vicinity continues to innovate and invest in sustainable energy infrastructure and technology to reduce our overall environmental impact. Our Clean Energy Future is a reflection of this commitment and incorporates the latest strategies and technologies available, including:


  • Electrifying generation ​to further reduce ​carbon emissions as the grid gets greener;
  • Investing in efficiency projects and upgrades to our existing district infrastructure;​
  • Leveraging renewable energy for our “house loads” in our facilities;
  • Researching new opportunities, like the introduction of battery storage, to meet the needs of customers and avoid costly grid interruption; and
  • Exploring additional leading-edge technologies to accelerate our transition.

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Illustration showing delivery of eSteam