TC Energy’s Pumped Storage Project is one of the largest climate change initiatives being developed in Canada. It incorporates state-of-the-art design and the latest technologies to produce 1,000 megawatts of flexible, clean energy to Ontario’s electricity system.
The project, which is in the very early stages of development, requires numerous levels of assessment and approvals before it can become a reality.
TC Energy’s Director of Power Business Development, John Mikkelsen, recently drafted an open letter to the community to address concerns about the proposed project.
“Over the past year we have heard much from the community about the pumped storage project we are proposing to construct on the Meaford Tank Range,” says Mikkelsen.
“The feedback we have received has been clear. Protection of the environment, the local economy and way of life are of the utmost importance to area residents.”
This valuable feedback from the community has resulted in the proposal of a new design concept in response to public concerns.
“Two key changes will be incorporated in the new design basis. The power house has been moved away from the shoreline and will be buried in a cavern,” explains Mikkelsen. With the major components of the energy storage facility underground, noise output and visibility of the system will be substantially reduced from all vantage points.
To avoid sensitive marine habitats, the water intake/outlet will be moved from the shoreline. “Tunnels installed beneath the lakebed will access deep water avoiding sensitive near-shore fish habitat,” says Mikkelsen. “The inlet/outlet structures will be raised off the lakebed to avoid bottom dwelling aquatic organisms and the potential to create turbidity. They will incorporate fixed screens which will limit the speed of water withdrawn to further protect fish that may be present.”
The results are no shoreline or near shore structures, no visible in-water infrastructure, protection of fish and fish habitat and avoidance of turbidity.
“We are grateful to the community for providing thoughtful feedback, which contributed to the innovative solutions we want to implement in this new design and are encouraged that many of the concerns raised about the project have been addressed.”
What are the benefits for the Region?
A Regional Economic Study conducted by an independent consultant shows the project would have meaningful economic benefits regionally, provincially and nationally. Over a four-year construction period, it’s estimated that the project would create over a thousand jobs and inject more than $750 million directly into the region.
The complete economic study can be viewed here.
What’s next for the Pumped Storage Project?
Preliminary details surrounding the new design will be available on TC Energy’s website over the next few weeks and emailed to those who have subscribed to project updates. The company is planning engagement sessions in the coming months to describe the new design concept and to provide an opportunity for the community to provide further input. Information on events can be found here.