Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Reader Responds to Recent Pumped Storage Letter

Dear Editor,

In response to Bruce Mason’s April 25th letter, it is quite astounding how little homework he does before writing letters to the editor. He seems to believe that everything TC Energy (TCE) says is the gospel truth and everything anyone else says is false, including the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), who has more knowledge about these matters than any of us, including TCE.

TCE is proposing this pumped storage project for one reason only………to make money! Of course they are going to glorify their unnecessary and obsolescent project and try to convince everyone how wonderful it is. In this modern age with new alternative energy storage technologies, TCE (with its pumped storage inexperience and poor track record) is clearly flogging an old horse.

I would like to clarify that any council which bases their research strictly on the evasive and continually revamped “Kool-Aid” information that TC Energy provides is not considering the real facts and performing its due diligence. It seems to me that if Meaford Council is “taking flak” now, it’s because they simply take everything TCE says at face value without ensuring that any of it is correct.

There wasn’t any “faked data” or “imaginary dangers” information supplied to the Township of the Archipelago by Save Georgian Bay (SGB) or the Georgian Bay Association (GBA). The environmental risks posed by the Pumped Storage Project are real and have been thoroughly researched by Save Georgian Bay since 2018 (refer to the environmental assessment). Classifying them as “imaginary dangers” is completely unfounded and dangerous.

As for Bruce’s statement “No attempt was made to hear from TC Energy, nor from anyone who understands the proposed project”, the Township of the Archipelago (ToA) should have heard from TCE before passing a resolution. This was their decision and neither GBA nor SGB requested the resolution. However, the ToA did hear from several others who do understand the project and its implications. As for the other municipalities passing resolutions, this applies as well.

Regarding his statement “No mention of the design TC Energy proposes for Meaford was provided. Virtually nothing at all related to the current Meaford proposal”, this is incorrect, The ToA was clearly advised that the new TCE design addressed many of the environmental risks and reduces those risks.

Concerning the statement “Nothing was covered about the proposal’s benefits”, all the benefits that TCE claims have been comprehensively refuted by SGB based on sound scientific, engineering and financial analysis. The IESO also does not accept the TCE claimed benefits related to the Ontario electricity storage needs and financial benefits to Ontarians.

“It appears that Council is opposing an important clean energy project for Ontario because Council does not understand where it is to be built.” This pumped storage project is not an important project for Ontario, as evidenced by IESO rejecting the project. Battery storage and other energy storage technologies provide flexible, cheaper, more practical and much shorter term solutions to Ontario’s storage needs. I’ve covered these new technologies in previous letters.

A May 9, 2024 IESO update report states “The IESO is offering contracts to 10 battery storage facilities – for a total of 1,784 MW. Nine proposals have 50 per cent or more indigenous ownership. By 2028, Ontario’s entire battery storage fleet is expected to consist of 26 facilities with total capacity of 2,916 MW.“

As for the statement “There are many concerns surrounding the project that go away completely, if you only look at the correct proposed location”, this is wrong. The issues around the DND site pollution are only one of many concerns and environmental risks and the new location would pose similar risks as for the old location. As for the proposed new site location of the reservoir and infrastructure on the base (if there really is one 2 km. away), there are two other recommended base sights but TCE seems to be lacking public transparency about this plan.

As for “No one in the entire world knows the financial details yet”, this statement is false. The financial deal that TCE is negotiating will be structured as both rate regulation and cost recovery. The financial implications of this are not that difficult to accurately estimate against a range of capital cost assumptions and forward rate differentials between peak and off-peak power. The IESO has already determined this in its findings.

This project is going to be extremely expensive for Ontarians, locking in a disastrous financial burden for Ontario hydro customers for 50 years from construction completion for a project that is not needed. It could be made obsolete from newer technologies and electricity rate changes and it poses high environmental risks.

If Bruce Mason has concerns about “obvious falsehoods”, then he can publish a list of these on this public letter forum and I will be pleased to challenge and address all of them with real research, facts and science.

I’ve written several letters to the editor outlining the many drawbacks of the TCE open-loop pumped storage project and the better alternatives but many people still just don’t listen to facts.

I’m suggesting that Mr. Mason and his supporters perform their own “due diligence”, instead of listening to TCE’s “Coffee Chats” and ads rhetoric before flinging out false allegations in a public forum.

Best Regards,

Mike McTaggart, Meaford

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