TC Energy: Environmental Study on Georgian Bay.

Project update — April 12, 2023:

Field studies resuming this spring

We are continuing to undertake environmental fieldwork to help guide Project design.

Aquatics and terrestrial field studies are resuming in April and archaeological investigations are resuming in May. These are critical to helping us understand the environment where the Project is proposed.

The data will be used to develop the upcoming environmental and impact assessment processes.

Read the Project update

Made-in-Ontario Pumped Hydro Storage 

In April 2024, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) released a report which took a deep dive into the economic and social benefits of the Ontario Pumped Storage Project (Project). The report revealed a number of positive key findings that we are pleased to share with you.

You can read the full report here: Made-in-Ontario Pumped Hydro Storage

Read the summary report here.

Job creation

The Project will generate roughly 41,000 jobs, with 66% from full-time positions, and 1,700 construction jobs during the 4-year peak construction period. Overall, $6.8 billion is the projected contribution to the economy, with more than 60% of employment benefits impacting more rural regions. Over the next 50 years, this $6.8 billion investment into the economy would see 90% of the activity remain in Ontario and that includes $3.9 billion in wages. Rural economies are not left out, in fact they would feel the greatest impact. Of the total employment and GDP benefits, 61% and 65%, respectively, are in rural regions.

Built in Ontario, by Ontarians

Of the total economic contribution of $6.8 billion in GDP for Canada, $3.4 billion stems from activity directly generated by the construction and operations of the Project, $2 billion in indirect economic activity related to regional supply chains, and the remaining $1.4 billion is associated with induced economic activity—the activity supported by the additional spending generated by the Project. More than 90% of the economic activity occurs in Ontario, with 30% of the total remaining in the local regions of Grey, Bruce, and Simcoe. The Project will be built using provincial and national supply chains with 83% remaining in Canada of which 92% stays in Ontario. This ensures that Canadians and Ontarians are put first, with over 110,000 Ontarians benefiting.


The Project is expected to generate over $1.7 billion in taxation revenues for federal and provincial governments during the construction and operations phase. In particular, the federal and provincial governments can expect $1 billion and $680 million, respectively, from income, corporate, and consumption taxes.

Social and community benefits

Of the 37,000 households benefited, 20,700 are in rural regions and the majority of benefited households are couples with children. The Project can help address affordability challenges with a third of the jobs created anticipated to be filled by those under 35. This demographic is the most likely to be facing housing affordability pressures. As most jobs created will be in skilled sectors with generally higher incomes, these jobs have the potential to improve the affordability of affected households. There is a projected $450 million in social value contributions from the Project. This signifies a considerable improvement in regional well-being over the current levels experienced by Ontarians.

Clean and reliable energy

Ontario’s electricity system often generates surplus energy, primarily from renewable and nuclear sources, during times of low demand (nights and weekends). As we move to decarbonize our electricity grid, this must be complemented by storage technologies. This way we can reduce our reliance on emissions-producing generation and help Ontario meet its growing electricity demand. By helping to optimize clean electricity generation resources, it is estimated that the Project could lower CO2 emissions in the province by an annual average of 490,000 tonnes.

A closer look

Electricity Supply: Surplus Supply at Night. Ontario has a diverse power system. However, there are limited resources that can quickly respond to changes in demand in a flexible manner. This mean starting and stopping quickly and changing output rapidly. Wind has a tendency to generate at night when the needs are lower. Electricity Demand (during off-peak hours): At night, when the demand for electricity is low, there is a surplus of electricity generated. The surplus is either exported to adjacent states or provinces at a loss, or wasted. Electricity Demand (during peak-demand periods): During the day, when the demand for electricity is high, fossil-fired generation is called upon to balance supply and demand.


A climate change initiative

TC Energy retained Navigant to perform an economic analysis of the proposed Pumped Storage Project with two focus areas:

Assess the potential impact of the project on the cost of electricity for Ontario ratepayers.

Quantify the potential CO2 emissions reductions for the electricity sector attributable to the project.

The Navigant team completed a rigorous economic analysis and simulation of the Ontario electricity market, calculating the ratepayer and CO2 emissions impacts of the project by running simulations with and without the project.

View and download report

Feasibility Assessments

TC Energy is conducting a number of preliminary field studies at the proposed project site to support the feasibility assessment. These studies will help provide insight for TC Energy, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the community as to whether 4th CDTC is a feasible location for a proposed pumped storage facility from an engineering and environmental perspective.

The following provides an overview of the specific feasibility assessments that are currently underway and how these studies will help inform TC Energy’s assessment of the project site.

Feasibility Assessments What it studies How it's studied How it informs preliminary project planning
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) LIDAR Survey Topographic conditions/physical features of the project site area. A drone is mounted with a LIDAR sensor and flown across the project site area. Assesses and supports the design of the reservoir, penstocks, powerhouse, intake and discharge structures.
Bathymetry Survey Underwater depth of Georgian Bay lakebed. A multibeam echosounder (a type of sonar) is mounted to a boat and pings a beam of sound to the lake floor. Assesses and supports the design of the intake and discharge structures and provides inputs to 3D hydraulic modelling, which studies water flow in and out of the lake and water turbidity.
Sediment Sampling Lakebed characteristics such as sediment texture, consistency and smell. A hand-operated dredge sampler is dropped to the lakebed from a boat. Sediments are then sent to a laboratory for testing. Supports the design of the intake and discharge structures, provides inputs to 3D hydraulic modelling, which studies water flow in and out of the lake and water turbidity.
Geotechnical Drilling Characterizes the overburden materials, bedrock elevations and quality of bedrock. Also establishes groundwater levels. Boreholes are drilled at various depths into the soil and bedrock with a drill rig. Supports the design of the reservoir, penstocks and powerhouse by determining what the ground is made of and its characteristics.

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