More on the TC Energy proposal… Being 'green' is not just reducing our energy consumption but also being efficient with the energy we do use. There is only one real cost of electricity. The pricing with peak rates and off-peak rates is a fabrication of government and the electrical producers to misdirect us from the fact they do not know how to design and build flexible and efficient systems that can effectively meet variable demand.
The TC Energy proposal is a continuation of this folly. The idea of pumping water at off-peak times and generating at peak times sounds good… right? However, as I pointed out there is absolutely no peak cost and off-peak cost. That is a myth. There is only one real cost.
The pumping of water is a mechanical process to move water from a lower potential energy level to a higher level of potential energy. This process, being generous, is about 70% efficient. So, using $1 worth of energy to pump the water will yield 70¢ worth of 'potential' energy. So, there is a maximum 70¢ return on a $1 investment. Producing hydro-electricity is also a mechanical process, i.e. using water falling through a penstock to turn a turbine which in turn, turns an electrical generator. To retrieve all the 'potential' energy stored in the pumped water the sluice would have to have an exit velocity of 0 feet per second. That just does not happen. Being wildly generous, that retrieval process might have a 70% efficiency. Some quick math will point out that 70% of 70¢ will yield 49¢. So, the consumption of $1 worth of energy to pump the water up will return at best 49¢ worth of energy to the grid.
To state the obvious, this is a money loser and a money waster. The installation will never even pay for itself… even when the imaginary variable pricing is thrown in. It should be pointed out that there are other losses in the system. Consider evaporation losses, spillage losses, seepage losses, cavitation losses, and so on…
This installation will be a financial disaster from the beginning and a drain on our tax dollars and raise our hydro costs. I go back to my original statement, “Being 'green' is not just reducing our energy consumption but also being efficient with the energy we do use.” This project fails miserably.
Paul Wehrle, Major (ret) BSc RMC, Meaford