A number of energy companies are proposing building facilities throughout west Ottawa that would store excess electricity.
The sites are called battery energy storage systems (BESS). These systems would gather unused electricity during low-usage times and distribute it during peak times each day to supplement the power grid.
“We’re seeing system needs in Ontario grow. We’re seeing growing demand with both a growing population and a growing economy,” said David Devereaux, director of resource planning at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which is a provincial body responsible for planning and managing Ontario’s power grid.
IESO issued a call for proposals citing the needs to balance the province’s power supply as the demand grows.
Evolugen is one of the companies proposing to build a BESS on an 80-acre site on Galetta Side Road.
Patrick Hogan, who lives across the street, says he doesn’t want the energy storage facility near his home.
“There’s going to be noise attributed to it, a chance of fire is a big thing,” Hogan said to CTV News. “There’s a creek that runs through the property that they’re going to put it on right next to our house and we’re worried about pollution.”
He also has concern for his property value.
“We don’t want to live beside it. So nobody’s going to buy a property around it to live to beside it either.”
Those were the concerns shared by many residents at a public consultation meeting held last week in Fitzroy Harbour by Evolugen.
Two other energy companies, Potentia Renewables and Solar Flow Through Funds have also proposed building BESSes in West Carleton-March.
Potentia Renewables’ site would also by located just off of Galetta Side Road, north of Highway 17. Solar Flow Through Funds’ location is at 650 Dwyer Hill Rd.
CTV News has learned of another five proposed energy storage sites in Leeds and Grenville.
“The system needs that we have will require build on that scale,” said Devereaux on the number of proposals communities are seeing pop up.
In Elizabethtown-Kitley, Leanne Kinch says there is a BESS location proposed for her street, but is concerned with the lack of information energy companies are providing.
“It’s incredibly concerning, because if this was such a great idea, wouldn’t there be a ton of literature on it that they would you know, here’s a pamphlet on our fire hazards and here’s a pamphlet on how safe these are?”
Facilities such as these are seen in locations such as California, but Devereaux says none has been built in Ontario to date.
“Not at scale,” he says.
“We have small ones that have been piloted in southwestern Ontario, but this will be our first large-scale procurement of this type of thing.”
“Is it potentially a really great idea? Yeah, absolutely,” admitted Kinch. “But I don’t think it needs to be on this massive a scale.”
None of the proposed sites in west Ottawa has received final approval from the city.
“We don’t feel real good,” says Hogan. “I don’t think anybody we’ve talked to feels good about it.”