Is Marmora's lake-in-the-sky really eco-friendly?Posted Jul 5, 2012 By Chris Faiers
Last week I read that Marmora and Lake Council is still considering turning the slag heap at the old Marmora Mine site into a "lake-in-the-sky" pumped water storage facility.
I had honestly thought this project had died a peaceful death, but as it hasn't, I should air some concerns.
Of course we all want jobs for our under-developed area, and everyone wants to be good planetary citizens in this age of global warming and declining energy sources. But I have doubts about many aspects of this project, including its eco-friendliness, its ongoing financial viability, and of course its safety for village residents.
My understanding is that this project will be a net consumer, not creator, of hydro energy. More energy will be consumed pumping water uphill than will be generated when it is released downhill.
This doesn't sound like a green energy project in any way. I have heard the terms "green washing," and even "greed energy" applied to schemes which purport to be eco-friendly, but which are really based on making money. In fact, it appears this project is a form of arbitrage, or "playing" Hydro for its rate differentials. We all know how efficient and well-managed Ontario Hydro is, so what if Hydro suddenly changes its rate structures again, and this "arbitrage" scheme loses its financial benefits?
Also the very thought of building a reservoir above the old mine site strikes me as completely unsafe. The report on last week's council meeting detailed one such dam burst, and the ensuing devastation from the flooding.
When I moved here 23 years ago, there was a proposal to fill the mine site with trash trucked in from Toronto. Marmora residents quickly formed the group Marmora Takes No Trash (TNT), and one of my first local experiences was marching to the mine site with a large raggletaggle group of angry and concerned residents.
We also held meetings which jammed the town hall, and that particularly nasty idea was eventually discarded.
I wonder if our concerns are shortsighted, or if the many people expressing these misgivings are seeing as clear-eyed as the minion who shouted, "Look, the emperor has no clothes!"
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