pumped storage meeting
The Save Georgian Bay Group (SGBG) hosted a public information meeting this Thanksgiving weekend to discuss a proposal by TC Energy Corporation (formerly TransCanada Corporation) for a $3.3 billion pumped storage facility at the 4th Canadian Division Training (4CDTC) Meaford property. The meeting was attended by over 250 concerned citizens and government officials. The group identified numerous concerns including their opinions that the project proposes use of obsolete technology, is incompatible with the urban population, and will cause environmental harm.

The proposed location of the project is in close proximity to residences and recreation areas. SGBG says construction would result in a man-made reservoir holding millions of cubic meters of water on a hill directly above hundreds of residents. Concerns about impacts on health resulting from possible high voltage wires were also raised. The project is based on the Ludington Pumped Storage Facility in Michigan, which is situated in a rural area with a lower residential presence than Meaford. Many are wondering why such a populated area is being considered for this project, and if areas of vertical elevation, like abandoned quarry pits, could be used for hydro-electric power generation.

A major concern for attendees was the safety of the local fish population. SGBG says the  Ludington facility killed 150 million fish per year when first built and continues to kill millions of fish each year since mitigation measures were put in place. This raises concern for the wildlife habitat and fishing interests.

“The four-year construction period and daily operation of the facility will create pollution and turbidity that will jeopardize the clarity and natural beauty of the bay. It also involves significant earth-moving to construct the offshore break walls, plant, and reservoir. On-going operations will create noise and light pollution as well as be detrimental to the water quality and clarity, while the number of fish killed each year can destabilize a habitat,” said Bruce Rodgers, Environmental Consultant.

“A pumped storage power plant is used during peak electrical demand periods as a secondary power generator, but consumes power in order to store it in the holding lake. These plants are only about 70% efficient, and do not replace nuclear or petroleum-based power plants, so it's not entirely clean energy. With many contemporary and more environmentally friendly options available, including smart peak electrical demand abatement technology, it's surprising that this obsolete technology is even considered in such a pristine and populated area,” added Rick Martinson, Electrical Engineer.

The proposal claims that the plant is needed to balance power demand in Ontario. So far, TC Energy has not provided a publicly available pro-forma to display the impact of costs and revenues, rate-payer total costs (including delivery charges), and its corporate recovery from this proposed investment. TC Energy claims the project will create 800 temporary construction jobs, but initially reported only 15 full-time positions will remain locally upon completion.

TC energy was invited to the meeting but after they were told they would not be allowed to address the audience, chose not to attend.

A Save Georgian Bay petition  has generated over 7500 signatures in one month.

The Save Georgian Bay Group is made up of environmental consultants, electrical engineers, industry experts, and volunteers concerned about the proposed TC Energy Corporation pumped storage facility in Meaford, ON. The group's goal is to examine the proposal with a focus on economic, social, and environmental impact. The group is actively seeking volunteers: interested parties can email [email protected].

The Department of National Defense comment period about the proposal concludes in March 2020. Comments may be sent to Holly King: [email protected].

source: media release


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