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Council okays Delhi hydro project

County okays Delhi hydro project
Newspaper: Norfolk News
Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Author: Katie Starr
First Published: Online at www.norfolknews.ca/news-story/4238408-council-okays-delhi-hydro-project/

An ancient idea will be applied to modern technology with the creation of a new micro-hydroelectric project at the Delhi Quance Dam that uses the “Archimedes’ screw” principle invented in the 3rd century B.C.

Norfolk council gave its approval to the plan on Tuesday and agreed to contribute nearly $25,000 towards the project led by local company GreenBug Energy Inc.

GreenBug CEO Tony Bouk likened the Archimedes’ screw method to an escalator where the weight of water falling through the screw turns the gear box and generator, producing electricity.

The device is used for transferring water from a low-lying body of water to irrigation ditches without having to manage water flows, council heard.

Bouk said what sets the ancient method apart from other hydroelectric systems is its small ecological footprint and minimal environmental impact.

Under the agreement, Norfolk County will have joint equity ownership of the project. The county will pay $24,085.40 in development costs in exchange for a 15 per cent economic interest in the project.

This means minimal risk for the county and a quicker payback on the initial investment when compared to taking full ownership, said public works general manager Eric D’Hondt.

GreenBug has already successfully commissioned the first Archimedes’ screw system in North America, on the Nanticoke Creek at Fletcher’s Horse World in Waterford. Bouk said there is potential for thousands of similar projects at sites across Canada. There is also significant interest in GreenBug’s system coming from Europe, he added.

“We want Norfolk to be our showroom, our demonstration,” Bouk said.

Coun. Jim Oliver said the historical significance of the project was a motivation behind council’s unanimous decision.

“We’re potentially entering into a first in North America in terms of applying an ancient technology to a modern situation,” he said.

“This is a new field with potential for other sites in Ontario and around the world, and wouldn’t that be a great thing for Norfolk County.”

The project is still a few years from completion. The next step will be for GreenBug to apply to the province’s renewable energy program, which pays a fixed price for electricity generated by green energy projects.

The company will then start a detailed project analysis, including a class environmental assessment of the Delhi site.