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New Sicamous bio-heat facility generates over $24K in 3 months

Facility went online in October with 2 industrial park users
The Sicamous Community Bio-Heat Facility generated $24,364 of revenue in its first three months of operation. After expenses, the remaining $8,675 was transferred to reserve. (DOS photo)

Sicamous’ new bio-heat facility that provides alternative energy to the industrial park is already turning a profit after just three months in operation.

Reporting to the district’s Select Finance Committee on Feb. 28, chief financial officer Bianca Colonna said two connections currently using the system generated $24,364 in revenue. Based on the 2023 numbers, she also provided a budget for the first three months of 2024, taking the initial learning curve for users into account.

With the system turned off between March and October, Colonna estimated revenue for the six months of operation this year at $38,250.

Those figures are, however, before expenses that include insurance, contracted services, materials (wood chips) and propane for backup. At $15,689 for 2023, that left a net revenue of $8,675 that was transferred to reserve. For the 2024 budget, Colonna anticipates $25,888 in costs and $12,362 going into reserve.

Of the expenses, she added that actual labour isn’t that costly.

“It’s coordinating the wood chips and the operation with PW [public works],” she said. “But it doesn’t take a lot of time, it’s mostly just making sure the wood chipper is full… it’s a pretty self-sufficient system at this point.”

The biggest cost is the wood chips at $12,326. The district currently pays a flat rate of $120 per tonne, and Colonna expects that rate to remain pretty consistent going forward, but has projected an annual two per cent increase on costs.

“I see communities that are harvesting slash, some of their trees and treetops… and turning them into chips,” Coun. Pam Beech commented. “So I would just like to express the need for us to be really open to finding ways of sourcing and getting our own source up and running, because it would be good in so many ways. So I just want to keep that open as part of the discussion.”

The committee received the report for information.

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About the Author: Heather Black

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