Dysart et al considers wood-fuelled energy system 

By Chad Ingram

Published Sept. 26 2017

The Municipality of Dysart et al will apply for a grant that would assist with the creation of a wood-fuelled energy system in the village after councillors heard a presentation from Jamie Stephen of Torchlight Bioresources Inc. during a Sept. 25 meeting.

The concept would involve a central energy centre where wood chips would be burned in specialized equipment heating water in a boiler that water then distributed throughout a series of underground pipes providing heat and water heating to buildings in the downtown area of Haliburton Village. These buildings would likely include the arena curling club and municipal office as well as the commercial buildings along the downtown strip of Highland Street.

“What we’re bringing here is not new technology” Stephen said adding that such wood-fuelled district energy systems exist in many places in Europe. He said what the project would create is “essentially a small-scale utility” one that would be majority-owned by the municipality and provide energy cost savings for it as well as the owners of commercial buildings in the village centre.

The proposal is for a partnership that would involve TorchLight which would be responsible for project management permitting system design financing and billing; Biothermic a company with a local presence that would supply the technology and maintenance of the energy centre; Haliburton Forest which would supply the wood chips under contract; and the municipality which would own the infrastructure.

The proposed project would not extend to residences.

Stephen said depending on what kind of model council wished to create the municipality could own anywhere from 51 per cent to 100 per cent of the system.

The grant application will be made to the province’s Municipal Greenhouse Gas Challenge Fund which provides up to $10 million per project and covers up to 100 per cent of eligible costs.

As for what a project for Haliburton Village might cost Stephen said some preliminary estimates were between $500000 and $2.5 million for the piping and between about $700000 and $1.2 million for the construction of the energy centre.

He pointed out that Dysart et al could become a showpiece for the technology in Ontario.

Stephen also offered to draw up the grant application at no cost.

“This is to me is kind of a no-brainer here” said Reeve Murray Fearrey indicating the municipality really had nothing to lose by proceeding with an application.

Stephen and Mike Rutter (who has the same name but is a different person than the chief administrative officer of Haliburton County) of Biothermic will be canvassing building owners in the village to gauge support for the project proposal.

The deadline for the application is in November.