The Cowichan Valley Regional District is passing up free money in order to save its constituents from a bigger tax bill.
It was recently announced that a Meade Creek solar photovoltaic feasibility study was awarded an $11,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’s Green Municipal Fund as part of more than $4.5 million for 109 climate related initiatives across the country through three programs: the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP) and the Green Municipal Fund (GMF).
Initially, when the idea of creating a solar farm at Meade Creek Recycling Centre was proposed, it was thought that BC Hydro would be able to buy back any excess power that would have been created after the needs of the facility were met. It turns out, however, the hydro company has recently changed its policy in that regard.
“Unfortunately we would not be able to sell back the stockpiled power,” CVRD spokesman Kris Schumacher explained. “The site had the potential to generate about 235 kw which would be more than would be required for Meade Creek itself and unfortunately without any other direct user in the vicinity of Meade Creek that could potentially partner or purchase some of the excess power, it just doesn’t quite make sense to explore it anymore in terms of the feasibility knowing that the cost of the project wouldn’t really justify the investment.”
It was estimated that the project would cost about $1.2 to $2.16 million to complete using the latest technology.
Schumacher said while the regional district was pleased to be recognized to receive the grant money, it makes sense not to go ahead with exploration of the project at this time.
“I think it’s with financial prudence to not explore a project any further than it needs to be if we’ve already identified a significant fault in terms of the feasibility, that we had done on our own without engaging any other third party to continue to develop that plan,” Schumacher said.
It’s not all lost, though, he noted, as the CVRD does have policies related to zero waste and alternative energies.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve that and to explore new opportunities as they arise but unfortunately this one will not be going any further at the moment,” he said.