Plans for a hydro generation project at the Brunel Locks are no longer possible thanks to changes to the province’s Feed-In Tariff program.
The Town entered into a 40-year-lease and limited partnership agreement with Green Bug Energy Ltd. in 2015, making it a 15 per cent shareholder in the company’s planned hydro generation — the least amount the Town could hold in order to access Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff program (FIT).
The agreement would have had the town lease land at the Brunel Locks to Green Bug Energy for a dollar a year and contribute an estimated $198,000 to the project from general reserves. In exchange, the Town would have received 15 per cent of net revenues from the sale of power. Initial projections had the Town making approximately $54,400 a year in returns on the estimated 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year that would have been generated, enough to power approximately 136 houses.
The Town/Green Bug partnership’s first application wasn’t approved, so it decided to try again last year. That application was also not approved. Any thoughts it might have had about trying again in 2017, the final year of the program, were arrested when the Ontario government quietly pulled the plug late last year.
“The final FIT application period will be held in 2016,” a December 16, 2016 directive from Ontario’s Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault read. “The IESO [Independent Electricity System Operator] shall cease accepting applications under the FIT program by December 31, 2016 and any unallocated procurement target at the end of that procurement process will remain unallocated.”
At the November 29 General Committee meeting, Town staff presented a report recommending dissolving the partnership with Green Bug Energy.
“We had entered into a Limited Partnership and Lease Agreement with Green Bug previously in order to pursue a contract to generate power at the Brunel Locks,” reads the report. “Since then, there have been changes to the program (FIT 4.0) that made the contract virtually impossible to move forward with.”
The resolution was carried and will go before the next Regular Council meeting for ratification.
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