Thursday, January 27, 2022

Reader: Green as Kermit the Frog Sitting on Dr. David Suzuki’s Lap

Dear Editor,

It is long past time to show this group politely to the door, lock it with them outside, and then get on with real Council work.

It is important to remember that not a single concern raised by this group has proven to be true or even a real problem. Their scary stories they hoped would inflame the public have been completely and repeatedly debunked. By TC Energy, the experts TC Energy paid to explain the proposal to the public, the local media, the experts not employed by TC Energy who were sought out by local media, reputable and knowledgeable environmental groups (both in Canada and abroad), many educated Meaford residents, and by my own personal hero. Mr. Jim Hepple of Meaford, who conclusively showed that every claim Save Georgian Bay made about pumped storage facilities in general, and the facility at Ludington, Michigan in particular, was absolute manure. Proved PSPs weren’t a quick route to widespread death and destruction after all. Simply by travelling to Ludington by boat. And using his telephone. To ask Authorities there if what we were being fed in Meaford was true? An entire coordinated campaign of misinformation discredited by one local man, his boat, and his telephone. They should make it into a movie.

The one thing Save Georgian Bay said that held up was “We don’t want it.” The lack of any real environmental, engineering, science, public safety, tourism, or commercial reasons to not proceed with the Pumped Storage Proposal may explain the recent move to resort to cowardly unsubstantiated vague accusations of corruption. Nothing would excuse that, of course. Who knows what’s next in the ol’ desperation kit bag?

You might hope by now everyone in Meaford would have a good idea how electricity gets to us. You would be disappointed. Ontario has two kinds of Baseload generation – Nuclear and Hydro-Electric. Baseload falls somewhere between “time consuming” and “Impossible” to “dial down” – in fact if you don’t dump unneeded nuclear plant energy off on somebody else, something important could go “Boom!”. Baseload’s only good for 80% of our needs – to be safe. We need Flexible generation too. Energy we can turn off when we don’t need it. Solar panels and wind turbines fill that role admirably now that we got rid of the toxic coal plants. And hopefully we won’t be stupid enough to build gas fired plants that burn fossil fuel – to solve the too much CO2 in the air problem.

But the more we rely on solar and wind for our Flexible GENERATION needs, the more urgent, the more critical, it becomes that we have an energy STORAGE solution for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Funny thing. Generators are great at generating electricity but can store zero power. Not one watt. The most basic laws of Physics demand that “Energy cannot be created or destroyed”.  Put simply, if you want to STORE energy you have to SPEND energy to do it. It’s either that – or break one of the oldest most unbreakable laws of science.  Ontario already has four kinds of GENERATORS. We need a big honking BATTERY! A clean one. We need to be able to STORE power for when we need it. Urgently.

1)     If someone hollers at you at the Meaford Hall that the Pumped Storage Plant “will harm land, water, flora, fauna, fish, and residents around and in this precious Bay.”, refer them to Mr. Hepple’s Letter to the Editor of May 13, 2021. Those people are hollering nonsense. You’re under no obligation to listen to manufactured misinformation.

2)     If they yell at you that the “the system would be wasteful.”? Do your best to empathize. That person probably failed Grade 10 Physics – they don’t understand the difference between a battery and a generator. You might run into that same person in a store and overhear them telling the sales clerk “The flashlight at Save Georgian Bay HQ is dead. I require two Eveready ‘D’ sized…generators”.

3)     If you’re told “We don’t need the PSP! We’ll buy Hydro from Quebec instead!”, don’t tell them they fail basic electricity principles. Walk them through Baseload and Flexible. And how we have lots of Baseload. We need Flexible. And Storage. They’ll appreciate you taking your time to explain the truth. It could be the first time they hear it.

4)     If you catch them spinning fairy tales that “The 30% inefficiency of the PSP is also a huge waste of electricity” – try to be patient! You don’t have to explain that a 100% efficient energy storage device would violate The Laws of Thermodynamics yourself. And that TC Energy can’t break the immutable laws of Physics to make them happy. In fact, that individual may have forgotten everything they learned in a Science or Engineering program and could feel ashamed if you prove they have. Just say “Can’t STORE energy without SPENDING energy” and move along.

The Pumped Storage Proposal is as Green as Kermit the Frog sitting on Dr. David Suzuki’s lap.

If you chose to ignore all the reality you’ve been offered to prove that you are utterly wrong about the Proposal, and as a result, you’re still fighting the Pumped Storage Proposal? Then you are fighting a crucial Green Energy project. And if you’re fighting Green Energy, you are fighting to make Climate Change worse. And finally, let us – finally – stop mincing our words.

If you’re fighting to make Climate Change worse, you are working to make it more likely that even more people die because of extreme weather events. In Meaford. In Canada. All over the World.

Meaford Council needs to make it very clear once and for all that it will not be a party to enabling people who through their own persistent ignorance are working to kill more people. There is no other way to put it.

I would have hoped that wouldn’t need to be said. But it is time.

Bruce Mason, Meaford


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