Friday, January 28, 2022

There is No Such Thing as 100% Efficiency

Editor,

Our world seems to be endlessly enmeshed in controversy, to vax or not to vax, to pump or not to pump, with each side fiercely digging in with no compromise in sight. The truth becomes blurred with spin on every side but there are some realities we must face. Regarding the pumped storage project; first of all, it is impossible to store energy. The best we can do is convert it to something else and then reverse the process later to re-convert it back to (in this case) electrical energy.

Whether you pump water uphill or load a battery it adds up to the same thing and there is no such thing as 100% efficiency – there is always loss.

A writer of a recent letter stated that the efficiency of batteries is increasing exponentially. That is a big word and even though batteries have improved dramatically there is a huge cost to our environment due to the need to rape our planet to extract lithium, rare earth, cobalt, and many other sometimes very scarce elements. Can we possibly equip each person on our planet with sufficient battery storage without paying a monstrous price? The aforesaid writer did make one very valid point however. As more and more people switch to electric vehicles there will inevitably be a huge demand for cheap overnight electrical power, but will it remain cheap under such circumstances? I doubt it, and what will the cost of pumped storage be then?

And thus remain my two personal big objections to pumped storage. First, the protection of Georgian Bay. If this idea turns out to be catastrophic in the future, will it be scrapped, or will only band aids be applied? which leads to my second objection. A guaranteed agreement for fifty years is unconscionable. In a rapidly changing world that is far, far too long. Whatever the consequences, of one thing we can be sure. It will be we, the people, who pay the price.

I don’t claim to be wise enough to have the answer, if indeed there is one. From what I can see, our expectations need to be dramatically lowered if humanity is to survive at all and who, pray tell, is willing to do that?

David Blackburn, Meaford

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