"not the intention that it will become a money-making effort just selling to the grid"

Delta bylaw would allow co-generation power at greenhouses

According to the South Delta Leader, Delta Council has given first and second readings to a zoning amendment bylaw that would allow greenhouse operations on agriculturally zoned properties to combine heat and power generation facilities.

Delta’s bylaws currently do not allow for co-generation facilities on agriculturally zoned land. The zoning amendment would follow recent land use standards adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture in May 2013.

However, the municipality has allowed exemptions in the past. Maxim Power (now owned by Village Farms) in North Delta was granted a license to use landfill gas as a fuel source in 2002. Over the past three years, there have been five other applications to establish alternative energy production facilities, including natural gas-powered co-generation facilities.

Seabreeze Farms in North Delta and Longo/Earth Renu on Annacis Island have applications to produce bio-gas for sale to FortisBC, but the bylaw amendment before council will only address natural gas co-generation.

There are currently four rezoning applications for co-generation facilities associated with greenhouse operations in Delta. Maxim Power in North Delta is applying for combined heat and power generators from landfill gas, while Village Farms in North Delta and Houweling Nurseries and VanMarrewyk/Aljane Greenhouses in Ladner are applying for natural gas permits. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) approved the latter application on Oct. 22, 2013.

As the need for and utility of co-generation facilities for greenhouses in Delta grows, Delta’s planning director Jeff Day said Delta should consider including it as a standard use in agricultural zoning so that rezoning is not required for each facility.

Combined heat and power engines would not entirely replace natural gas boilers. A combination of the two systems is necessary to obtain the higher heat provided by boilers at certain times of the year, however continuous operation of combined heat and power engines consumes almost twice the natural gas as a standard boiler to obtain the same thermal energy. Running them requires that the additional fuel cost be offset by the electricity produced to light the greenhouses and CO2 for greenhouse crop fertilization. The surplus electricity would be sold to BC Hydro. It is expected that the co-generation system would produce a net surplus of electricity even when high intensity lighting is utilized by the greenhouse.

However, the bylaw would restrict co-generation primarily for internal use.

“The intent of the bylaw is to ensure that the size of the co-generating plant will be specifically for use within the farm,” said Day. “There’s not the intention that it will become a money-making effort just selling to the grid.”3

Source: southdeltaleader.com

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