Funding application to cover only half of project
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | October 26, 2017|
While consultants prepare an application for provincial funding that would cover half the cost of a wood-fuelled district energy system in Haliburton, Dysart councillors and its consultants are still unsure where the other half of the approximately $5 million project will come from.
“We’re still working on that,” said Mike Rutter, an MSc engineer for Biothermic, one of the companies partnering with Dysart and TorchLight Bioresources Inc., a Canadian consulting and research company, to bring the system to Haliburton.
Rutter, Malcolm Cockwell, Haliburton Forest managing director and Jamie Stephen, managing director of TorchLight, presented council with an update Oct. 23.
Councillors gave consultants the green light Sept. 25 to gauge the downtown core’s interest in the energy system.
Stephen said most of the business owners showed interest in the project, especially if it lowers heating bills.
The system will be able to heat multiple buildings using underground pipes. A central energy centre will act as the heat source. An estimated 44 buildings will be included in the network and will require an energy output of 1.7 megawatts.
Stephen reiterated the project’s capital cost will be extensive.
Piping will cost approximately $1.4 million, while the transfer systems in each building that will connect to the network will cost approximately $600,000.
The municipality will be asking the province to fund those two capital costs in the Ontario Municipal Greenhouse Gas Challenge Fund application.
Consultants are estimating the central energy centre and a chipping centre will cost approximately $1.2 million and $1.3 million, respectively. The central energy centre will be built somewhere in Haliburton, while the chipping centre will be located at Haliburton Forest. Neither will be covered by provincial funding.
“If you ask for 100 per cent funding, you lose 10 points out of 100,” Stephen told councillors, referring to the application process. “Your best chance to get the money is to ask for half the cost.”
Deputy Reeve Andrea Roberts said there are still a lot of misconceptions among the public, referring to an encounter with someone who called the wood-fuelled concept archaic.
Stephen said he deals with that all the time, but emphasized no part of the proposal is experimental and that modern wood boilers are highly efficient and governed by strict government pollution controls.
Cockwell said he and his staff are excited about the possibilities.
“We are really looking forward to the opportunity to see our wood chips used locally,” he said. “The logging crews are also very excited.”
The fuel for the proposed system would come from wood chips produced by Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve’s sawmill.
The deadline for the Ontario Municipal Greenhouse Gas Challenge Fund is Nov. 14.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.