Council voted in favour of a shared equity agreement with Green Bug Energy Ltd. for 15 per cent net revenue of the energy production project at Brunel Locks
By Roland Cilliers
HUNTSVILLE – The hydroelectric dam off Brunel has taken another step towards actually existing.
Huntsville council voted in favour of a shared equity agreement with Green Bug Energy Ltd. for 15 per cent net revenue of the energy production project at Brunel Locks. If the project goes ahead, and it is still not a guarantee, the agreement means the town would make a one-time investment of roughly $200,000 and then would receive a projected annual return of $50,000 for 40 years.
Mayor Scott Aitchison, spoke strongly in favor of the deal.
“It presents a tremendous opportunity for us to ease the burden on our taxpayers for some of the other plans we need to fully fund,” said Aitchison.
“It presents a tremendous opportunity for us.”
– Scott Aitchison
The plan from Green Bug Energy would place a 250-kilowatt installation at the Brunel Locks in Huntsville.
The roughly $200,000 investment from the town will only be made in the event the project receives all government approvals.
Not everyone on council supported the agreement. Coun. Karin Terziano objected to spending money at a time when the town is already facing financial challenges.
“I realize everybody likes this project, but I have two concerns and the biggest one is the funding of it from general reserves. So we’re going to fund this to the tune of $200,000 from general reserves, which has a $2.5 million deficit and I just don’t see how we can keep doing this. How we can keep spending money we don’t have?” said Terziano.
The project takes advantage of provincial incentive programs that support green energy initiatives.
When the issue had been in front of council in the past discussion focused on Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff program, which is designed to promote green energy development by offering long-term contracts to producers and favorable rates. Critics of the program, including some on council, have argued it has led to a rise in energy costs for Ontarians while providing very few real benefits.
Mayor Aitchison argued the project would be good for the town’s finances.
“In light of the fiscal difficulties we are facing as a municipality and in light of the limited ways we have to raise money I see this as an opportunity not just to spend money but to make an investment that will help us put more money into our reserves and help us build our asset management plans for the next 40 years as opposed to spending money to add more assets that we then have to tax to maintain,” said Aitchison.
First Published Date: Sep 30, 2015