Failed DHC scheme refunds investors


A failed Canadian district heating initiative, which had fallen by the wayside in the province of Ontario, has left city officials and investors extremely relieved to discover that their capital will be refunded to them following the failure of the district heating scheme.

The City of Guelph, which had planned to invest $ 60 million in the construction of two new 10 MW plants which were slated to replace two smaller test stations that were previously used to supply centralized heating and cooling to the city.

The project was also conceived with the intention of linking the University of Guelph and the city’s hospital, but this lofty goal could not be met due to a mixture of factors such as the small number of potential clients, strategic errors and mixed results.

The city authorities have been aware that the scheme was a failure since last July, when it was revealed to them that the network had already failed at a cost of some 14 million dollars. Consequently, the city has been seeking a refund on its commitments from the province’s energy operator due to the failure of the scheme.

At the beginning of the year, it was announced that the city had managed to negotiate its withdrawal, and that the avoided costs amounted to 60 million, plus 600 000 dollars of security deposits which have also been restored to the local operator, ENVIDA Community Energy Inc.

The mayor of the city, Cam Guthrie, expressed his satisfaction at the outcome, saying
“I’m ecstatic about this outcome for the city. This is definitely a good way to start the year off.”

Mr Guthrie continued, remarking “I believe that ideology was driving this forward and when you have blind ideology pushing things like this forward you start spending more and more and more money.”To have something like this come to light early is a huge benefit to the community.”

The local operator, ENVIDA Community Energy Inc, is an independently-run extension of the city-owned Guelph Hydro Electrical Systems, and, as previously stated, also recouped over $600,000 in security deposits related to an agreement made with the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to build the two 10-megawatt power plants, one in the Hanlon Creek Business Park and in Downtown Guelph.

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