VICTORY! Metrolinx ditches polluting gas plant for clean battery energy storage

On Tuesday, March 28th the Province and Metrolinx announced that they were not proceeding with a proposed natural gas-fired power plant for backup power for the Crosstown LRT and instead they were going to build an innovative 20 megawatt battery energy storage system!

This is a complete victory and the result of more than a year and a half of hard work by community members and allies in Mount Dennis. Metrolinx and the Province listened to the community and they deserve congratulations for moving forward with this exciting and innovative project. 


Back in late 2015 Blue Green Canada began working with the Mount Dennis Community Association and allies in the surrounding York South Weston (YSW) communities in opposition to a gas-fired power plant that Metrolinx intended to build on the former Kodak lands as a backup power source for the Crosstown LRT.  Community members spoke up and wanted to see the gas plant stopped, or at least delayed, to allow for a review of alternative green power options that wouldn’t pollute the community and were more in line with the Province’s climate change commitments.

After some research into alternative backup power options we found that many alternative energy options were available and could provide backup power for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. In fact, energy storage technologies had advanced to the point that were are being increasingly used in North America as reliable backup power solutions.

We helped the community organize a campaign to ensure their ideas and concerns were heard. 

Nearly 1,000 local residents signed a petition letter and more than 2,700 email messages were sent to MPP Albanese and Metrolinx, as well as the Premier, Cabinet Ministers, and the local City Councillors, asking for the gas plant to be stopped and for cleaner power options that would keep the Eglinton Crosstown LRT emissions-free and not compromise community health or contribute to climate change to be explored. 

In June 2016, we learned that Metrolinx had decided to no longer proceed with the proposed gas plant. They agreed to instead work with Toronto Hydro on alternative backup power options.   

The March 28th announcement that the Province and Metrolinx were not proceeding with the 18 megawatt gas-fired back up power plant and they were proceeding in partnership with Toronto Hydro on  an innovative 20 megawatt battery energy storage system instead!

This facility will be one of the largest battery energy storage systems in North America. Metrolinx is looking to the RFP (Request for Proposals) out in a matter of weeks.

According to Metrolinx...

The energy storage system, which is equivalent to a large battery, will be capable of providing backup and emergency power to the LRT line for up to four hours in the event of a wide-spread power outage. The system will provide more environmental and operating cost savings than the previously proposed natural gas powered facility. Specifically, it stores off-peak energy at night, which is lower-cost energy, then is available to supply on-peak energy during the day, reducing peak demand, lowering emissions and lowering costs.

The main Maintenance and Storage Facility will continue to include a green roof and be a LEED designed building. An 18 kilowatt solar PV system will be built on the roof top of the Battery Energy Storage Building.

The community is now engaging in a process with the City of Toronto, the Province, Metrolinx, and other stakeholders to develop a net-zero Community Energy Plan for the Mount Dennis community surrounding the transit hub being developed at the former Kodak lands.