Several residents submitted letters to the editor last week (Aug. 28) regarding the pumped storage project that TC Energy has proposed for development on the Meaford Tank Range. I want to thank those writers for taking the time to express their concerns and opinions regarding the project. Their input is important and continues to contribute to the project’s development. We are grateful for this.
I regret that the current COVID-19 pandemic prevents large-scale, face-to-face discussions. To the extent possible, I would welcome the opportunity to meet in-person, or have a phone call, with every resident to hear their individual concerns, and to the best of my ability answer their questions. My team and I are always available to talk to about this project.
There are a couple of specific comments in last weeks’ editorials I would like to address:
With respect to Robert Black’s letter, I would like to correct the assertion about the configuration of the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station. While the facility is adjacent to the Sir Adam Beck I and II Generating Stations, it is most definitely a pumped storage facility – pumping water from intake channels to a man-made reservoir and releasing water through turbines at times of peak demand, back to the intake channels and on to the Niagara River in an open-loop configuration. https://www.opg.com/strengthening-the-economy/our-projects/niagara-pump-reservoir/
On that, and in response to Joanne Devaney’s question, the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station is an example of a hydro project where the reservoir sits 50 meters from the nearest residential home and the community of Queenston, Ontario, lies directly below the reservoir. The Sir Adam Beck reservoir is 750 acres (twice the area of what we are proposing at Meaford) and has been operating safely since 1957.
A similar situation exists on the U.S. side of the Niagara River with respect to the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant which is part of New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project. Like the Ontario facility, water is pumped from the intake forebay to a reservoir and released to generate electricity during times of peak demand. The reservoir at the Lewiston Pump Generating Station is 1,900 acres in area (five times as large as what we’re proposing in Meaford) and has operated safely since 1961. The community of Lewiston, New York lies directly below the reservoir. https://www.nypa.gov/power/generation/niagara-power-project
Both the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station (63 years old) and the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant facilities (59 years old) have recently completed refurbishments to extend their operating lives.
While I recognize that the concept of a pumped storage facility and its associated reservoir is new and represents a change for many residents, and that telling you that such facilities exist in other places doesn’t necessarily increase your comfort, I think it’s important to correct the record. We are committed to design, build, operate, and maintain a safe reservoir.
TC Energy has an exemplary safety record when it comes to developing and operating power assets. Take Bruce Nuclear for example, a facility we have ownership in with a laser focus on safety. Our nuclear facilities must operate safely and we will bring the same dedication to safety on this proposed project. In developing the pumped storage project, we will engage qualified and experienced engineers to design the facility and we will similarly construct the facility with contractors who have experience building hydro facilities. Our goal is to demonstrate that safety is our number one value at TC Energy and that we care about the safety of you, your family, and your home.
Finally, I wish to assure Nancy Loudoun that a comprehensive traffic study will need to be completed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and we will be required to show that we can safely deliver the workers, equipment, and materials to the project site. The public, including local residents, will be engaged directly as part of the process and will have an opportunity to express their concerns and their ideas regarding the proposed traffic plan. While the proposed traffic plans have yet to be completed, 7th Line is not expected to be the primary access route. We will communicate further opportunities for input on the plan when that component of the work is complete.
We want to thank all writers for their interest in our proposed project. We continue to believe that the project represents an extraordinary opportunity for Meaford – to be home to an environmentally responsible, clean and safe energy project that has the potential to create long-term economic and employment opportunities for its residents and businesses.
John Mikkelsen, P.Eng., M.A.Sc.
Director, Power Business Development