A plan to generate hydroelectricity at the Brunel Locks is not dead in the water.
Green Bug Energy Ltd. and the Town of Huntsville submitted a joint application under Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) incentive program last year, but the application did not make the cut. Now plans are underway to make another application this fall.
News of whether the application will be approved this time around won’t be known until sometime next spring. If the Electricity System Operator does give the application conditional approval, it means the producer will be able to feed the hydroelectricity it generates into the grid and get a set amount per kilowatt hour. But unless that approval is granted, spending money on the project is a non-starter.
Until you know whether or not the hydro system is willing to buy the power, you don’t even do any studies. You don’t even waste your time. Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Chief Steve Hernen.
Hernen, who has been communicating with the company on behalf of the municipality, said even if conditional approval were to be granted next spring, it would take several years to get through all of the environmental, feasibility and design studies required along with the public consultation process. That cost would be borne by Green Bug under the company’s current contract with the Town, he said.
Unlike the hydrogeneration projects in Bala and High Falls, which have met with staunch opposition from community members, the Locks project would be a micro-operation by comparison, explained Hernen who lives across from the Locks
Most of it would be underground, you wouldn’t even see it. Hernen
He said the building would not be much bigger than the current operator’s cabin that sits on the property. “And it does not affect the water levels at all. That’s the key thing with these things. So we’re just taking water that would normally be running over top of the dam and we’re just converting it down through this four-foot culvert.”
In terms of project size, preliminary numbers would put the hydrogeneration at about 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year, which can power on average approximately 136 houses, explained Green Bug CEO Tony Bouk. He also assured that he understands how picturesque the Brunel Locks location is and invited readers to see some of the company’s projects, particularly a rendering of what it is proposing in Delhi, Ontario. You can access the company’s website here.
Huntsville Council entered into a 40-year lease and limited partnership agreement with Green Bug Energy Ltd. last year, making it a 15 per cent shareholder in the company’s planned hydrogeneration at the Locks. If the project moves forward, the Town would 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 its general reserves. In exchange, the Town would receive 15 per cent of net revenues from the sale of power. The 15 per cent is the least amount the Town can hold in order to access Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff Program (FIT) and initial projections would see the Town making approximately $54,400 a year in returns.
See initial story here.
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