Updated: Nov 3
November 2nd, 2023
Last evening, I attended a public meeting hosted by Evolugen, who is working with a landowner in the Fitzroy area on a proposal and submission to the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) for a battery energy storage system (BESS).
The process for approval of a BESS project is rather complex. Due to the timeframes for when these projects need to be operational, the IESO has been developing its requirements for how projects get chosen at the same time they begin to review application proposals. There was an initial IESO project qualification stage, which has passed. Next, there is an IESO proposal submission deadline of December 12th. This second submission is where rated criteria (using a points system) filter out applicants. Only those granted the most rated criteria points through the December submission will continue to the next phase. If the proponent submits a Municipal Support Resolution (MSR), which needs to be approved by Council, as part of their December submission, they are granted 3 rated criteria points. The process is extremely competitive, so those 3 points can mean the difference between being passed through to the next stage or not. In the event that a proponent gets through to the next phase without submission of an MSR in December, they would then have 18 months to submit their MSR while they also compile other submission details for comprehensive review. This process is administered by the Province and the IESO.
While I am not fundamentally opposed to BESS systems and see the growing need for our ability to store power to strengthen our energy grid as we try to limit GHG emissions, I realize that this is relatively new technology that does carry some serious risks for the surrounding community.
In the past, I have supported a Municipal Support Resolution for another BESS proposal in Ward 5. However, that proposal was minuscule compared to the one proposed for Homesteaders. That proposal was for a system that would have been 0.12 hectares in total, including the setbacks, and there were no concerns raised by the residents in the area. With new technology and the associated risk that has been identified, I believe that the scale of this proposal, without assurances of safety, with many details still unknown, is prohibitive to getting the much-needed support of the community. The proposal put forth by Evolugen is 14 acres and 290 containers filled with battery technology and, if this were to be built, would be one of the largest in the world.
Last night, the community had some questions about fire safety, direct benefits to the community, the effect on wildlife and wetlands that are on or around the property in question, as well as concerns about light pollution and noise since sound carries easily in a quiet rural area, and this is a large-scale project. I don’t believe the answers that were provided had the level of detail, clarity, or certainty that is required to gain public support and put concerns at ease.
While there were several people in attendance who were supportive of the idea, the overwhelming majority of people I have heard from are not supportive of a project of this size in their community. As a result, I will not be supporting a municipal support resolution for this particular project.
I would like to reiterate that I am not fundamentally opposed to this technology and will look at each proposal on its own merit while listing carefully to constituents, but I do not believe this particular proposal is appropriate for our community.
Ward 5 | West Carleton-March
City of Ottawa | 613-580-2475
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Evolugen is hosting another meeting tonight (Nov 2), this one online.
Thursday, November 2, 2023
6:30 to 8:00 pm
There is also a second BESS project being proposed in our Ward, closer to Arnprior. This one is also not affiliated with the City and being proposed by Potentia Renewables lnc through Arnprior BESS Limited Partnership. They're also hosting community meeting next week to share info with the community about the proposed BESS project.
Thursday November 9th, 2023
Fitzroy Harbour Hall
100 Clifford Campbell St