January 18, 2023 3:30pm
TC Energy hopes to see a proposed a hydro pumped storage energy facility become operational in Meaford by 2030.
Spokesperson Herb Shields attended the recent Grey County Council to update councillors on the project proposed at the Meaford army base.
He said the environmental impact assessment process continues on their to plan to pump water out of Georgian Bay overnight, and then release it during the day to create electricity.
He said they expect to submit a federal impact assessment this year, which would be followed by about three years of consultations. Shields explained the proposed design has already undergone several revisions thanks to data and public feedback.
“To ensure that we are protecting Georgian Bay, protecting fish and fish habitat, while also providing a safe and reliable design for power generation for Ontario,” he said.
He added construction would likely begin in 2025 and the facility would become operational in 2030. TC energy reports the project would create 1,000 construction jobs over four years, while saving ratepayers about $250 million a year.
He said the pumped storage project would provide stability as the grid moves to climate friendly energy sources including wind and solar.
“Whether that’s wind that only blows at certain times of the day and sun that only shines at certain times of the day, you need a stabilizer to capture that energy, and then to redeploy it when we do need it during peak demands,” he explained.
Shields says the pumped storage project would provide 1,000 megawatts and would power about a million homes over 8 hours, about half of what Niagara Falls produces.
“If you were to displace natural gas generation with this thousand megawatts it would be the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide that would be removed from the energy grid which is equivalent to about 150,000 cars,” he continued.
The project would use risers out of the lakebed to pump water up to a manmade reservoir at night. It would be released to generate electricity during the day. A proposed 50 km lakebed transmission corridor from Meaford to Wasaga Beach would deliver that power to the grid.