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Editor,

Please find attached an open letter sent to our MP, Alex Ruff.

I feel it speaks to many residents' concerns about TC Energy's pumped storage project.

Back in 1964, Bob Dylan’s famous song, The Times They Are A-Changin’ ,was a generational anthem, a shout-out to the old establishment. Indeed the times they are a-changing, have changed, and are continuing to change, as COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis has made us painfully aware.

So why on earth are our leaders, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, elected provincial officials from Meaford and Southern Georgian Bay, and Federal Officials from Department of National Defence, all not shouting out against TC Energy’s pumped storage project? And why are so many residents staying quiet?

The data is in. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is generating more hydro than we are using. In the September 3 press release, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) stood together and reported: “The restrictions COVID-19 has imposed on economic activity are already having an impact on Ontario’s electricity consumption,” said Sandro Perruzza, CEO of OSPE. “OPG reported that in the first quarter of 2020, hydroelectric curtailment (waste) increased by 130%. This will continue for the duration of the pandemic, ultimately resulting in a significant increase in the amount of curtailment in 2020. Despite high Ontario system demand peaks such as those on some hours of the day in July 2020, there remain many, many hours during the year with surplus generation that is either curtailed or exported at low prices which is a wasted economic and environmental opportunity.”

The press release goes on to propose re-allocating surplus energy by way of price reform, and solutions like:

  • replacing fossil fuel consumption for consumer’s heating needs

  • growing Ontario’s fleet of electric vehicles

  • creating clean hydrogen for Ontario’s industrial sector

  • creating hydrogen-powered vehicles

The Liberal government is on board too. The Speech to the Throne on September 23 highlighted a commitment to climate change with tax incentives for green energy tech, retrofitting homes, and protecting ¼ of the country’s lands and oceans. I’ll take that to include Georgian Bay?

We have entered a new global era. Scientists call it the Anthropocene (remember Pleistocene, Holocene) defined by consuming our natural resources faster than the earth can regenerate its ecosytems. If you believe in climate change, the data points to the demise of life as we know it. Sure, humans can adapt. But how and at what cost?

We don’t need a pumped storage facility. We need to change our relationship with energy, at home and at work.

TC Energy’s Pumped Storage project is a backward direction for change. It's wrong because it only allows us to squander energy with our old habits.

How does Mr. Ruff plan to act in his elected capacity to move us forward? For the times, they are a-changing.

Caryn Colman, Meaford


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