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Cash influx to come from new combined heat and power plant

A combined heat and power plant is set to be installed at the Legends Centre by the OPUC.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A new power generator at Oshawa’s Legends Centre is predicted to create a bump to the city’s bottom line.

Following council approval, the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC) is set to install a new combined heat and power plant at the north end recreational facility, an upgrade to the existing back-up power system.

As the name suggests, the plant is able to create both heat and power from a single source, a handy ability particularly in times of extreme weather and cold temperatures. They are also 70 to 80 per cent more efficient than current existing back-up power systems, says Ivano Labricciosa, the president and CEO of the OPUC.

“You can combine the extraction of heat and electricity from one fuel source. The beauty of that is you can produce electricity with the incentives, you can produce electricity for less than what you can buy it off the grid, better emissions than diesel fuel and the kicker on that is you get heat,” he explains. “When you look at sort of combining that with the efficiencies and the production of electricity, less than what it cost to get it there to you, it becomes a very lucrative alternative.”

Lucrative indeed, while the OPUC will be fronting the costs for the installation, and reaping the energy savings as a result, the new system is set to generate a $30,000 annual royalty for the City of Oshawa. On top of that, Stephanie Sinnott, the city’s commissioner of finance, explains the new unit may also boost the city’s annual dividend received from the OPUC. However, just how much that would be is uncertain at this point.

And while no other locations have been named to date, there is the possibility of installing similar units in other city facilities, which could also result in a similar financial gain for the city.

“Without actually having looked at the detailed financial analysis for our proposal at the other city facilities, I can’t say with any certainty, what an amount would be, but it’s presumed that there will be a similar financial arrangement and return back to the city,” Sinnott says.

“This is a fabulous situation,” says Councillor Rick Kerr. “We have a situation here where we’re getting royalties for each installation we do. We’re getting an enhanced dividend from the OPUC, both of which can be utilized to further enhance services we offer.”

As it stands, the royalties received from the project are being redirected into a newly established reserve account with the dollars earmarked toward similar projects.

According to Labricciosa, the specifics for the design of the installation have yet to be finalized, but he says they are looking to move forward as soon as possible in order to take advantage of existing government power system upgrades incentive programs.

“The clock is ticking so from our perspective, we’d like to get it in this year or early next year at the latest and that way there’s no concerns about those incentives and we can take advantage of that,” he says.