Forestry Group Proposes to Fuel Springhill Institution
Athol Forestry Cooperative has proposed to convert the heating system at the Springhill Institution from oil to high efficiency wood-chip technology.
The executive director of the coop, Ian Ripley says the boiler is serviceable but the oil storage tank is nearing its end of life and needs repair. He says that opens a window of opportunity to consider wood technology as a replacement.
The penitentiary currently consumes up to 900,000 litres of oil each year.
Ripley cited a second reason for the conversion, as it would save about fifty thousand tons of CO2 emissions over twenty years.
The conversion would create about seventeen full-time jobs in the forestry sector. Ripley added, “Really what this means is about fifteen hundred cords of wood that would have been left behind to rot on the forest floor could be utilized and displace the 900 thousand litres of oil.”
The project is estimated to cost up to 2.5 million, hopefully covered by a joint federal/provincial agreement. Wood fuel would lead to annual savings of more than 100 thousand dollars.
Ripley says the Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester is already onboard and he asked council for a letter of support to be sent to federal officials.
Later in the meeting, council agreed to support the project.
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