Sunday, June 16, 2024

Why Pumped Storage (PSP) Is Bad For Ontario

Editor,

I spent 20 years of my 40-year engineering career designing and building hydro-electric dams and water storage facilities. I have a complete working knowledge of this technology.

The resultant operation yields of the proposed PSP facility are diametrically opposed to satisfying the Province’s challenges of achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions and ensuring the security of adequate, dependable energy supply.

Effective, quantifiable CO2 reductions within the grasp of the Province and OPG will practically be derived from the following 3 initiatives: 1. Electric Vehicle Utilizations, 2. Electrification of the Province’s GO commuter trains, 3. Replacement of fossil fuel furnaces currently installed in 95% of Ontario’s homes and businesses. All such future equipment function will require a massive augmentation of the Province’s electrical generation capacity. Roughly estimated, a 4-fold increase from the current generating capacity of 40,000 megawatts will be needed.

The $8 billion which ultimately will be needed to complete Meaford PSP will add no additional energy to the Ontario power grid. In fact, during operation it will destroy 30% of the energy used to fill the reservoir and convert it to waste heat. This wasted energy is sufficient to power 400,000 Ontario homes. The PSP construction will burn at least 100 million litres of diesel fuel which will yield about 250,000 tons of CO2 into our atmosphere. TCE refuses to disclose or confirm these facts in its on-going public relations campaign. Instead, it has resorted to coercion tactics aimed at local businesses, using the needs of short-term construction personnel as leverage for all to ignore the ill effects of PSP.

Having studied the TCE Proposal and considered its benefits, there is only one I can identify. In the short term, it will allow TCE to capture more revenue from “off-peak” energy it is forced to currently provide jurisdictions south of the border at low or no cost, where it is used to offset coal consumption. Their claim this will offset gas consumption at co-gen facilities is irrelevant in the grand scheme.

What should be done? … The Province needs to create a non-partisan mandate to use every available dollar to increase the current provincial 40,000 megawatt output. None of the three CO2 reducing activities sited (sic) above can be accomplished without additional power. Additional nuclear and hydro-electric generation projects need to be underway now in anticipation fulfilling much needed CO2 reduction in Ontario. Spending billions of public dollars on a project which subtracts from the already insufficient power generating capacity is flawed and irresponsible absurdity. One does not need any technical expertise to understand this. For the same expenditure as the PSP, 3,000 megawatts of hydropower generation could be achieved in the Province’s James Bay watershed. Unlike nuclear, hydropower can be easily attenuated during off peak periods, precluding the need for environmentally destructive pumped storage.

The Ontario Government and OPG need to collaborate with some forward-thinking leadership and take control of this current irresponsible project which is nothing more than a publicly funded attempt at corporate greed. Do not be distracted and misled by the TCE propaganda.

Stephen Carr, Meaford

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