In the July 10th Meaford Independent, Mr. Dave MacDougall attempted to legitimize support for the pumped storage project. With much respect to Mr. MacDougall and to others who seem willing to see this project proceed, I will offer the following comments so as to appeal to your reconsideration of advocacy for spending $3.3 billion for a mechanism which will dump 400 megawatts of waste heat into our environment on a continuous basis.
Firstly, we need to recognize the misunderstood concept that this project has some mitigating effect on 'global climate change' (a reference made by MacDougall to Mikkelson’s claims at TC Energy). Canada’s population represents about 0.4% of the global total. Our current coast to coast contribution to global greenhouse gases is about 1.4% of the world’s gross production. If Canada completely disappeared tomorrow and took all its greenhouse gas creation with it, the resulting change in global warming would be non-measureable, so, essentially it’s zero.
Therefore, to suggest that Meaford pumped storage activity will contribute to a reduction in climate change is just plain incorrect. TC Energy ought not to be making such claims they know to be erroneous.
Secondly, someone like Mr. MacDougall who appears to be passionate about reducing CO2 emissions ought to be applauding the fact Ontario’s clean energy is offsetting coal combustion south of the border (from where the bulk of our prevailing winds originate). Instead, he rationalizes the project's validity against a growing number of abandoned retail storefronts in downtown Meaford. I might suggest he consider big box stores in Owen Sound and Collingwood, as well as online shopping services as being the contributors to the changes to the Meaford retail complexion. This project and Meaford’s vacant commercial sector are and would be unrelated.
Thirdly, Mr. MacDougall requested some 'math' with regard to the cost of installing 100% efficient rechargeable energy storage units in Ontario homes. In 1999, Mr. MacDougall , I attempted to purchase a 40” newly introduced flat screen TV for a home I was building in Port Severn. The cost was $19,000. That same sized television of much higher quality is now available in supermarkets for less than $300. This is what happens to the cost of innovative goods and technologies when mass production and human creativity are allowed to flourish. You do not require any further evidence to demonstrate as to how quickly the rechargeable energy storage industry is evolving. In the seven years it will take to build this pumped storage facility and commission it into service, the declining costs and added efficiencies of battery storage devices will be so extensive that the “70% energy” this installation will offer will be of no value to the Ontario consumer. It will never be used. It is quite probable many homes and businesses will already be using these storage devices to accrue savings offered by the lower cost of “off peak” electricity consumption. With a great deal of confidence, I can predict the DND would ultimately be owner operators of a very large and expensive swimming pool and aquatic training centre for our armed forces personnel, and that is all.
The 3.3 billion dollar price tag for this project will ultimately be borne by the Canadian/Ontario taxpayer. As contributors to this massive expenditure, would we not be better off in investing in the future instead of in the past? This facility does not increase Ontario’s power generation output. It in fact reduces it by 400 megawatts. This is not progressive thinking.
In 2012 I was a part of a team that designed and built a 1,750 megawatt hydro dam in Ethiopia (at a cost of 1.7 billion USD). Why isn’t TCE and OPG contemplating projects like this in Ontario’s massive, untapped James Bay watershed? Ontario’s demand for electricity will continue to increase and hydro electric energy is the lowest cost and most reliable source, hands down.
Lastly, we need to come to terms with the bigger picture here. TC Energy employs well educated engineers and administrators. I do not believe for a moment that they aren’t fully aware of the advantages of using in home battery storage devices, and yet it has been omitted from their presentations. Utilization of this technology provides them with the off-peak market they desire for the surplus electricity currently heading south. It does not require changes/additions to Ontario’s distribution grid. They know this. They also know only too well the magnitude of the energy they plan to waste to sell their remaining 70% electricity to Ontarians. To date, in their narratives to the public, they have knowingly withheld facts about electrical power management most would be unaware of. So why are they insisting this project proceed?
This can only result in the transfer of wealth from taxpayers/ratepayers to TC Energy and their contractors, without regard to the environment or to the consumers of electrical energy. Their rhetoric and 'sales pitch’ are not to be believed. There is a wilful lack of transparency, honour and honesty at play here from enlightened personnel who ought to know better.
Stephen Carr, Meaford