Tuesday, April 23, 2024

It Has Been a Long, Unnecessarily Acrimonious, Four Years

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed your historical perspective of the Pumped Storage proposal. You should be commended for your commitment to balance. Not abused. I usually wish you would call utter nonsense and garbage utter nonsense and garbage more plainly. And frequently. But I respect that you remain professional. In your place I sure couldn’t. Unwarranted accusations to the contrary, you refused to take sides.

It has been a long, unnecessarily acrimonious, four years. I prepared my own perspective after reading yours.

I felt the need to get involved three years and two months ago. Here is what I said in my letter to you at the time:

The Pumped Storage Plant debate feels like a bad tennis match to me. Mr. Mikkelsen answers your readers’ concerns with facts, science, engineering, and common sense, after which a resident or two manufactures another list of perceived grievances for him to tackle.”

What’s changed since then? In over three years?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

On October 26th Mr. John Mikkelsen laid out in very simple, easy to understand terms how Pumped Storage fits into an optimized electricity grid. A Greener electricity grid. It was accurate – both scientifically and environmentally. Thank you, Mr. Mikkelsen.

On Nov 2nd Mr. Pete Russell either struggled to understand Mr. Mikkelsen’s explanation or chose to ignore it. He characterized an energy STORAGE facility as a poor energy GENERATION facility. Mr. Mikkelsen’s explanation just one short week before was very clear on these differences. While failing to supply his math, Mr. Russell also implied the climate would be better off by not pouring concrete in Meaford. Pouring concrete to save us from using fossil fuels in Ontario – for 50 years or so.

Mr. Russell’s dredging up yet again one of the oldest of the Save Georgian Bay untrue and deliberately misleading claims. One week after it was shown to be false. Again. It’s inexcusable that someone would comment on this subject after ignoring all of the opportunities provided to them over the last four years to educate themselves. To still be unable, or worse, unwilling, to recognize the difference between Energy Storage and Energy Generation.

A pumped storage facility doesn’t waste 30% of the power to fill it. Why? Because it is a battery! Remember: “It takes ENERGY to STORE energy”!

Maybe simpler terms will work? A “battery” is not a “generator”.

Mr. Russell has odd thoughts on concrete too. He stops short of calling for a world-wide moratorium on the use of concrete (cobblestone airport runways are clearly not a good idea). He appears to oppose the use of concrete in Meaford. Only Meaford? How many times in the last four years have we had to listen to opponents of the Proposal go on about things that are safe EVERYWHERE else in the world – but they can’t or shouldn’t be done in Meaford? Only Meaford? I guess we can add concrete to their list now. Concrete?

Pumped Storage provides 96% of the energy storage in the world. 96%! Why haven’t the opponents of the Proposal flooded the pages of The Meaford Independent with genuine examples of pumped storage disasters and environmental crimes? The catastrophic failures that wiped out entire communities? Fish extinction horror stories? Failed water supplies due to water turbidity?

Easy answer. Because those things don’t happen. Those opposed had to just make all that stuff up because there are no environmental, safety, or engineering reasons to block the Project. They had a selfish goal and nothing to work with to succeed. They were stuck.

You have no examples to support your case? No reasons backed by facts or evidence? So, you just invented imaginary “reasons”? My Mom raised me to call that sort of thing “lying”. She thought people shouldn’t do it.

96% of the world’s energy storage is safe to use. Makes sense it would be if you devote two seconds to thinking about it. Instead of spending your time writing fiction to make it look bad.

I was amazed that Staff would recommend including members of Save Georgian Bay on a Community Steering Committee. I laughed out loud when I read that. I understand that Council bends over backward to avoid being accused of not listening to “all” sides. But what possible good could come of doing that here? Maybe add some comic relief? Did NASA include Flat Earthers on the Moon Missions teams? To hear from “all” sides? I don’t remember the Center for Disease Control saying “We need to hear from all sides! Better get some guys that believe Bill Gates is putting tracking chips in the COVID vaccines on the Vaccine Rollout Steering Committee.” Do you remember that happening? I don’t.

Shouldn’t those seeking to provide input to Council and Staff have to pass a basic competency test? Demonstrate a rudimentary knowledge of the subject matter as an absolute minimum?

How about: “Give us one example of anything you have said about the proposed Pumped Storage Proposal in the last four years that was true. ‘I just don’t want it’ is NOT an acceptable answer for the purpose of passing this test.”

Much of the acrimony in Meaford these past four years could have been avoided if only the Mayor and members of Council had simply travelled to see one of these things years ago.

Picture the faces of the hosts when our Community Steering Committee finally visits an actual functioning pumped storage facility. And the Save Georgian Bay members ask their worn-out fictional concern questions:

Can we see the cemeteries where you buried all the victims after the big swimming pool failed and wiped out your community? Why are there still two dozen charter fishing boats in the harbour if the pumped storage plant eliminates all the fish? What do you do for drinking water now that your water treatment plant can’t be used anymore because of water turbidity? You used concrete to build that thing!?!?”

And the baffled hosts can only respond with “What???”

Bruce Mason, Meaford

 

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