Power developers haven’t changed their wind farm playbook with new battery storage submissions: they know project info, but you don’t need to
March 31, 2023
Last night in Mooretown (near Sarnia), a standing room only crowd had tough questions for Enbridge at a public meeting regarding 100-MW battery energy storage facilities proposed for Lake St Clair Township, in Lambton County.
Even though Enbridge claimed the company is ready to file applications for site plan approval of the “Tecumseh Farm” project and building permits, staff presenting information to the public would not confirm whether proposals had already been submitted for the Tecumseh project to the IESO during the most recent Request For Proposals, which concluded February 16.
Just as in Prince Edward County a few months ago, there were questions on fire safety from those attending. Enbridge claimed in response that the technology they would use has a perfect fire safety record.
They would not disclose the type of lithium ion battery to be used in the facilities.
Other questions related to the Enbridge natural gas pipeline which is located near the proposed Battery Energy Storage site. The presenters claimed to have no information on the pipeline.
Setback distances were also a topic of discussion. While a separation or setback distance of 600 metres is being proposed from existing homes, unlike other renewable energy projects, no consideration is being given to the potential for future home construction on the vacant property that abuts one side of the proposed project.
Notes from earlier presentations by Enbridge can be found here.
While many details of the proposed battery storage projects remain unknown, St. Clair Township has already passed a motion of municipal support for the projects.
As one Ontario mayor said recently when battery storage systems were proposed for his municipality, the public does not know very much about these projects.
And there are risks.
Wind Concerns Ontario recently released a paper listing concerns and reviewing the current regulatory environment for battery storage.
There is a lot to learn, and many questions to ask.
Will power developers answer, or is this just like the wind turbine Gold Rush of years ago, when projects were simply forced onto an uninformed (and often unwilling) public?