Dear Minister Smith,
Re: Oneida Battery Park Project
I recently note you sent a letter dated August 27, 2021, to Ms. Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in respect to the captioned. The letter instructed IESO to negotiate a “draft” contract with the parties proposing the 250 MW battery storage project.
I was pleased to observe you couched your directive with the following instructions:
“I will not consider a directive to the IESO asking it to execute the drafted final contract until:
• National Resources Canada’s determination regarding the $50 million in funding under the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program is known; and
• The ownership of the project is fully clarified, including the equity participation of both NRStor and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corp.”
Along the lines of your directive I sincerely hope you are aware of an article I penned January 23, 2021 partially analyzing the project when it was first announced in a press release from the Federal taxpayer owned Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). The press release indicated the CIB would invest $170 million of our hard-earned tax dollars. My article attempted to point out the negative impact the project would have on Ontario ratepayers despite our tax dollars being thrown at the project. It now appears another $50 million of our tax dollars may be slated to join the $170 million already committed!
The other issue which I would point out is in respect to what recently occurred to a similar project in Southeast Australia. An article on August 5, 2021 on the CNBC website was headlined: “Tesla Megapack fire highlights issues to be solved for utility ‘big batteries”. The article noted: “There have been around 40 known fires that have occurred within large-scale, lithium-ion battery energy storage systems,” which should be considered; if this project is allowed to proceed.
What I wish to reiterate to you and IESO is; you must recall the Green Energy and Green Economy Act caused Ontario’s electricity rates to spike by well over 100%. Projects such as this will add further costs to the system and negatively impact ratepayers including small and medium sized companies. The effects will be a reduction in employment, drive manufacturers and other businesses elsewhere and create further energy poverty.
The possibility of fires on large-scale lithium-ion battery energy storage systems also cannot be ignored. A fire such as happened in 40 cases would simply serve to increase emissions as would the mega batteries relatively short life span and their eventual disposal.
I sincerely hope the Ontario Ministry of Energy and IESO will bear the foregoing in mind before any approval is granted to proceed!
Your very truly,
Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives