Friday, January 28, 2022

Questioning the Efficiency of Pumped Storage

Editor,

Recent letters to The Independent defend the proposed pumped storage project (PSP) and question the rationale for suggesting there is a degree of deception at play here in its advocation. In order to contemplate these points of view, it is incumbent upon all of us to understand the inherent inefficiency of pumping water up hill to later extract energy from it when it flows downhill.

In order for the Meaford PSP to regenerate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, it will require the transfer station in Barrie to supply 1,420 megawatts. What happens to the missing 420 megawatts? It is dumped into the environment as waste heat. This loss is a summation of mechanical and electrical frictional losses that occur in this process. It cannot be improved upon. It is simply the Laws of Physics at work.

Understand the 420 megawatts that PSP promoters plan to waste for 50 years is sufficient electrical energy to power more that 400,000 homes. It is proposed the PSP will be operating 40 hours per week. If we use the current “mid-peak” cost of electricity Hydro One charges us (11.3 cents per kilowatt hour), then this project will destroy $96.1 million of clean electricity per year. Don’t be naive enough to believe the Ontario homeowner will not be paying for this loss. Do keep in mind that in order for the project to advance , the project owners will receive a 50 year commitment to supply this wasteful regenerated electricity.

So why the suggestion of corruption or deception? This is because this inefficient method of energy storage is no longer necessary. In-home 10 to 20 kilowatt energy storage devices, that are currently available (and improving exponentially) are 100% efficient and require no construction project that will dump over 300,000 tons of CO2 into our atmosphere from the diesel fuel required to build it. They, along with the growing population of electric vehicles will achieve the “off-peak” energy storage and “on peak” energy supplementation the PSP will provide. TCE Energy knows this, and yet they continue to promote the project and refuse to admit to the waste and the CO2 generation mentioned above.

No one who is “green minded” or “fiscally responsible” would willingly advocate the pursuit of antiquated technology that they knew to be this kind of wasteful, unless they had something else to gain from its implementation, particularly if that implementation was guaranteed for 50 years. So why would we not suspect some form of unscrupulous intention from those who are insisting that it is “green” and financially responsible, when it clearly is not?

For those who were “offended” by the suggestion of wrong-doing here, need to fact-check the science first.

S. Carr, Meaford

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