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.
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.
Read the notification published in the Meaford Independent on September 12, 2019
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:
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.
Electricity is required to move water into the reservoir during operation. We plan to use excess energy from the power grid during non-essential, low demand periods. This low-demand energy is typically exported at a loss or entirely wasted. Most of this energy will come from existing local wind or nuclear power generation.
Storage, like charging a battery, results in a charging loss of 20 to 30 percent. But a key benefit of a pumped storage facility is the ability to essentially store power and efficiently balance the electricity system to even out excess supply at certain times during the day and meet peak demands at others. This should contribute to lower electricity costs for consumers, and a more reliable electricity grid.
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, and23 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, 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 proposed project, we plan to begin conducting environmental studies in the spring of 2020.
1,000 megawatts of clean energy
Reduce CO2 emissions by 465,000 tonnes/year
Investing in low-carbon, renewable energy
Pumped hydro 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).
This is an illustrative diagram developed for information purposes to show the concept of what a pumped storage facility could look like at this location. The design and location of the facility is subject to change and will be further developed during the detailed design phase of the project and as a result of stakeholder input.
Documents and maps
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