Saturday, April 1, 2023

Reader Shares Letter Sent to IESO


I recently sent the following letter to the IESO and wanted to share it with your readers.

To Whom It May Concern:

I would direct you to please first refer to the attached BNN Bloomberg article which is interesting with respect to the TC Energy Corporation’s West Coastal Gaslink pipeline. With changes and upgrades to TCE’s proposed pumped storage project we all should be aware that cost estimates could easily double. Although costs do not directly affect us the price we pay for electricity could be adversely affected.

From: BNN Bloomberg
Date: Tue, Nov 29, 2022 at 9:27 AM


It looks like the headaches over the Coastal Gaslink pipeline are continuing at TC Energy. The company says it now expects a “material increase” in project costs and subsequent funding requirements, in no small part due to higher labour costs and a shortage of skilled workers. The company says it will provide an updated capital cost estimate early in the new year to account for those irritants, but it’s far from the first time it will revise its view – the company announced earlier this year that the cost of the massive pipeline, which will feed liquefied natural gas to the west coast, had soared some 70 per cent to $11.2 billion.

With Regards to TC Energy’s Proposed Pump Storage proposal for the Meaford, Ontario Area:

In communication with Save Georgian Bay (SGB) members I understand that employees of IESO were not overly “receptive” at the hearing meetings in Toronto Friday, January 27th. I expect that the IESO are focusing on the intent and long-term effects of corporate solutions to our Electrical storage needs. IESO claim they carefully review the environmental consequences of various proposals as well as alternate and viable long-term solutions. We must keep in mind that corporations all operate in their best interests of their shareholders and TC Energy is no exception.

You likely have noticed the newspaper advertising that TC Energy has been doing with local papers and radio. I would suggest TC Energy stop wasting our time with such, defending their environmental solutions. We need information on estimated final costs for the project, how financial targets will affect our future electricity costs plus expected short- and long-term inconveniences to the Meaford area.

My wife and I did attend a TC Energy “coffee chat” and had TC Energy outline the project, the need for energy storage and why their solution can work. They did answer a few questions but did not have any concrete answers with regards to final costs, transportation routes for the construction phases and how to minimize the adverse effects on the Meaford area. They did note that they will be analyzing these costs over the next several months if IESO approval is forthcoming. Here are some of our questions and answers.

What is your logical likely cost Estimate?

Answer: Current projection of $4.5 Billion but these costs will certainly increase. Could it approach $10 Billion? They think not but the potential is there.

Who will pay for this project?

Answer: TCE will finance the project using Government and public funding through business loans and other investments. They claim they will not be using any government grants/money.

Where do any operational profits go?

Answer: To TC Energy by way of a 50-year contract. This timeline enables them to repay loans and other investments. Bottom-line profits are expected to be equivalent to normal returns on similar projects: maybe 5 – 7% return on investment. Again, we need more concrete estimates on these numbers.

Despite demand for highly efficient (95-99%) green energy solutions, what is the energy efficiency of your proposed Pumped Storage Facility?

Answer: About 70% (which will produce 400K wasted energy in the form of heat and friction every cycle). TCE does note that since this project will help eliminate the selling and purchasing of Electrical energy from the USA, we essentially give them our current over production of electrical power at night and then we need to buy back energy during the daytime at a high price as our demand skyrockets. This excess energy is what the Pumped Storage will use at night to fill the reservoir: this 70% inefficiency cost to pump the water up to the storage lake is offset met by using our own wasted nighttime energy that we give away.

One note is we must consider: there will be 250 to 300 thousand tons of CO2 emitted from the diesel fuel required to construct the project so claims of being a “Green” project seems to be a bit of a push.

Once completed how many people will the PSP employ?

Answer: 20-30 employees on site.

The next step in this PSP proposal is to gain approval from IESO ( Independent Electricity System Operator). How could this project possibly get approved?

Answer: Perhaps all of us should all review the articles of the IESO with regards to “Code of Conduct”, their “Reports on Meeting Ontario’s Future Supply Needs”, and such. I would especially direct all to read the “Integrity and Acting in IESO’s Best Interests” in section 4 of the IESO’s Code of Conduct.

Thinking long term would the construction of Hydro dams in the James Bay watershed not be a better and more efficient energy storage AND supply solution? We could learn a great deal from Quebec’s James Bay projects.

Answer: All kinds of challenges would also result from such a solution but efficiency, energy storage, and environmental impacts would be manageable. I do still question if Pumped Storage is the best solution for our storage requirements. TCE does have a viable solution if environmental conditions are met and maintained. BUT is it the best solution available?

Pat Maloney, Meaford

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