I appreciate the opportunity to address Geoff Bowler’s letter that appeared in the October 14, 2021 edition of The Meaford Independent. I want to clarify how our pumped hydro storage project in Meaford will benefit ratepayers by using electricity currently being wasted and by stabilizing prices by using off-peak, cheaper power.
It is well known that Ontario sells electricity to other provinces and some U.S. states at rates lower than what it would cost to power our own homes and businesses. Electricity is generated around the clock, but we mostly need it during the day and in the evening. At night, when we don’t need it, the extra electricity produced is either exported to adjacent provinces and states or wasted – at an economic loss.
The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers’ recent data shows such curtailed – or wasted – energy would have powered 780,000 homes in 2020.
The Society’s report states, in part: “In addition to the curtailment of clean electricity, the province has continued to export surplus hydroelectric, wind, solar, and nuclear generated electricity to adjoining power grids in neighbouring jurisdictions from 2014 to 2020 at prices much lower than the total cost of production. This occurs because the province produces more clean electricity than Ontarians currently use and doesn’t have storage capacity, so it is forced to sell off the surplus at a very low price. Engineers know exporting clean electricity at low prices is a wasted economic and environmental opportunity for Ontario.”
Our pumped hydro storage project at Meaford directly addresses Ontario’s inefficient and costly energy system. It is anticipated the project would store approximately one-third of the province’s excess electricity – with electric vehicles also charging at night, we believe both electricity storage at scale and electric vehicles will be complementary to effectively manage Ontario’s future grid.
By using proven, reliable, state-of-the-art technology, the Meaford pumped hydro storage facility will safely withdraw water from Georgian Bay at night, when electricity demand is low, and store the water until the need is high, when it will be returned to Georgian Bay. During this phase, the water spins turbines and generates 1,000 MW of electricity. That’s enough to power one million Ontario homes for eight hours.
In addition to generating direct and indirect spending, job creation, and increased income for Meaford area residents and businesses, it will save Ontario ratepayers some $250 million annually.
We continue to believe and advocate that pumped storage is the most economic and environmentally responsible solution to meeting Ontario’s growing energy demands, and the Meaford facility will be a much-needed addition.
As always, we encourage your readers to visit our website for more information at www.ontariopumpedstorage.com and direct any questions to our project team via email at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-844-551-0055.
John Mikkelsen, P.Eng., M.A.Sc.
Project Director, Ontario Pumped Storage