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Proposed TC Energy Pumped Storage Project

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TC Energy is proposing to develop an energy storage facility that would provide 1,000 megawatts of flexible, clean energy to Ontario’s electricity system using a process known as pumped storage.

Pumped hydro storage (pumped storage) involves pumping water from a low-lying reservoir during periods of low demand for electricity, typically at night, to a higher-elevation reservoir. When electricity demand is greater (and therefore electricity is more expensive), operators release water back to the lower reservoir through turbines that generate electricity (similar to hydropower from dams).

TC Energy is in the very early stages of introducing and developing this project. There are numerous levels of assessment and approvals required before this concept could become a reality. If developed, the proposed facility would be co-located on the existing Canadian Army’s 4th Canadian Division Training Centre, north of Meaford, Ontario. It will be designed to store emission-free energy and would provide that energy to Ontarians when they need it most.

Feasibility Assessments

TC Energy is currently conducting a number of preliminary field studies at the proposed project site to support the feasibility assessment. These studies will help provide insight for TC Energy, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the community as to whether 4th CDTC is a feasible location for a proposed pumped storage facility from an engineering and environmental perspective.

The following provides an overview of the specific feasibility assessments that are currently underway and how these studies will help inform TC Energy’s assessment of the project site.

Feasability Assessments What it studies How it's studied How it informs preliminary project planning
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) LIDAR Survey Topographic conditions/physical features of the project site area. A drone is mounted with a LIDAR sensor and flown across the project site area. Assesses and supports the design of the reservoir, penstocks, powerhouse, intake and discharge structures.
Bathymetry Survey

Underwater depth of Georgian Bay lakebed.

A multibeam echosounder (a type of sonar) is mounted to a boat and pings a beam of sound to the lake floor.

Assesses and supports the design of the intake and discharge structures and provides inputs to 3D hydraulic modelling, which studies water flow in and out of the lake and water turbidity.

Sediment Sampling

Lakebed characteristics such as sediment texture, consistency and smell.

A hand-operated dredge sampler is dropped to the lakebed from a boat. Sediments are then sent to a laboratory for testing.

Supports the design of the intake and discharge structures, provides inputs to 3D hydraulic modelling, which studies water flow in and out of the lake and water turbidity.

Geotechnical Drilling

Characterizes the overburden materials, bedrock elevations and quality of bedrock.  Also establishes groundwater levels.

Boreholes are drilled at various depths into the soil and bedrock with a drill rig.

Supports the design of the reservoir, penstocks and powerhouse by determining what the ground is made of and its characteristics.

Pumped storage facility rendering

Rendering shows the approximate scale of the TC Energy Proposed Pumped Storage Project facilities on and below the Canadian Army’s 4th Canadian Division Training Centre, as viewed from the edge of Department of National Defence’s exclusion zone (approximately two km from the shoreline of Georgian Bay).

Image 1: Rendering of project area and facilities. Image 2: Actual view without the project facilities. Image 3: Detailed view of upper reservoir. Image 4: Detailed view of powerhouse, break-wall and substation. Click here to download the full size project rendering.

Worth a closer look!

One of Canada's largest climate change initiatives

TC Energy retained Navigant to perform an economic analysis of the Proposed Pumped Storage Project with two focus areas:

  1. Assess the potential impact of the project on the cost of electricity for Ontario ratepayers.
  2. Quantify the potential CO2 emissions reductions for the electricity sector attributable to the project.

The Navigant team completed a rigorous economic analysis and simulation of the Ontario electricity market, calculating the ratepayer and CO2 emissions impacts of the project by running simulations with and without the project.

Analysis of TC Energy's Proposed Pumped Storage Project in Ontario

View and download report
View and download infographic

Open House highlights

For those who were not able to attend our recent Open Houses and learn about TC Energy’s Proposed Pumped Storage Project, we have shared our community information presentation by John Mikkelsen, Director, Power Business Development at TC Energy.

Questions & Answers

Read our recent Open House questions & answers

Community Information Session Booklet

View and download the Community Information Session Booklet

Clean Energy

1,000 megawatts of clean energy

Reduced CO2 Emissions

Reduce CO2 emissions by 500,000 tonnes/year

Renewable Energy

Investing in low-carbon, renewable energy


Over the life cycle of the proposed project’s operation, it will reduce CO2 greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 500,000 tonnes/year; the equivalent of removing 150,000 cars off of Ontario's roads.

This facility would not use fuel in the generation of electricity — it would capture a third of the forecasted excess power that would otherwise be exported or wasted, store it and return it to Ontario to meet the province’s needs — reducing the costs of electricity for ratepayers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Electricity is required to move water into the reservoir during operation. We plan to use clean excess energy from the power grid during non-essential, low-demand periods. Most of this energy would come from existing wind, hydro or nuclear power generation. This low-demand energy is typically exported at a loss or entirely wasted.
In a study conducted by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, they noted that in 2016, Ontario exported 14.6 terawatt hours of clean electricity, enough to power approximately 1.5 million homes for an entire year, which cost Ontario’s power system $1.04 billion to produce. It was then sold to neighbouring jurisdictions, resulting in a financial loss ranging from $384 to $675 million. The proposed project would meaningfully reduce this loss. 

Pumped storage stores power, similar to a battery, until it is needed. However, pumped storage is on a much larger scale than batteries and can charge or discharge for much longer durations, providing enough power on demand to balance most renewable power swings across Ontario. Unlike lithium ion batteries, which degrade with repeated use and age, pump storage stores efficient and non-degrading energy in an elevated reservoir filled with water. The water is released through turbines that generate power as needed during peak power demands.

We will initiate a suite of publicly available studies to gather site-specific information about the land, environment and communities within the vicinity of this proposed project.

These studies will help us evaluate the potential effects of the project and identify mitigation opportunities to avoid or minimize negative impacts during construction and operation.

These studies will look closely at:

  • The aquatic environment, including fish and fish habitat, water levels, water quality and currents
  • The terrestrial environment, including vegetation, wildlife and soils
  • Local cultural and socio-economics, including historical resources, land and water use, recreation activity, population, infrastructure and community services

Site-specific studies of fish habitat will be undertaken as part of an environmental assessment. As we understand impacts on fish and fish habitat we will design appropriate mitigation measures to avoid or minimize these impacts.

Project-related structures in Georgian Bay will be fully assessed to evaluate potential effects on fish and fish habitat, commercial and recreational water use, water navigation and safety. We are confident that studies and mitigation measures will avoid or minimize negative effects.

We chose an isolated location for the pumped storage facility at the Department of National Defence 4th Canadian Division Training Centre to reduce impacts on the local community. We will undertake a detailed environmental assessment to fully understand local conditions and concerns and the potential effects of the project. Where this assessment determines negative effects may occur, such as during construction, we will undertake measures to avoid or minimize those effects.

All studies will be available to the public, including the environmental assessment, economic impact study and regulatory filings.

We anticipate the project will create 800 jobs during construction, and 23 full-time positions during operation. The TC Energy Pumped Storage Facility will be designed to operate for more than 50 years, creating long-term employment opportunities in the Meaford area. 

It is similar in functionality and, like our project, utilizes one of the great lakes as a reservoir. We will integrate modern technology in the design and operation of the facility.

Engineering design and environmental studies will ensure responsible design and location of the powerhouse and outlet structure. Turbidity is a function of water flows, the material and depth of the outlet, other project structures and the lakebed. Proper design and construction of the outlet and other project structures in Georgian Bay will result in a design that does not contribute to turbidity in Georgian Bay.

We are actively exploring options to minimize the potential effects of power transmission, including reviewing both underwater (on the lakebed of Georgian Bay) and overland transmission route options. As we identify transmission routing options, we are committed to engaging early and frequently with stakeholders to seek feedback.

Site-specific studies will identify sensitive wildlife habitat features for avoidance or the development of suitable mitigation measures. We will seek to parallel existing infrastructure, where possible, to reduce clearing and limit habitat disturbance. Initiation of construction is typically scheduled to avoid sensitive wildlife periods, such as the nesting birds.

The primary source of operating sound from the facility will be the rotating pump/turbine equipment and transformers. By necessity, the turbines and pumps will be located below grade, which will greatly reduce audible sound. We are committed to meeting specific sound standards. The planned location on military training land was strategically chosen to create distance from nearby communities, residences and recreation areas, minimizing impacts. Sound from the facility will be minimal and not likely heard on private or public lands. Site-specific studies of noise will be a component of the environmental assessment process and rigorously assessed.

We are committed to protecting the environment and that's why our environmental principles guide our decisions when project planning. As we move forward on this project, we plan to begin conducting environmental studies in the spring of 2020.

Anticipated Project Timeline



Ongoing communications and engagement with local communities and Indigenous group


Ongoing Feasibility Assessment


Operational Impact and Risk Assessments


Anticipated Environment Assessment


Anticipated Regulatory Decision


Anticipated Construction


Anticipated Plant Opening

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Ways to reach us

We’re here to answer your questions. For general questions you can contact us by email, but for a quicker response, please call us directly.

TC Energy Pumped Storage Project


200 Bay Street
24th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON M5J 2J1




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