Stirling-Rawdon council votes ‘no’ to battery energy storage system facility

Stirling community members came out in droves to question Liberty Power on their choice to consider the village for a battery energy storage system. Photo: Emma Persaud

Stirling-Rawdon council has voted against building a battery energy storage system in the village.

The council listened to community member Michael Thompson and to Liberty Power regarding a BESS facility being built on Hoards and Bedford road. Such facilities are being recommended by the Independent Energy System Operator to begin storing electricity in the face of Ontario’s growing energy needs. Concerns have been raised that the facilities carry more cons than pros for the communities being asked to house them.

“In reaching out to the Stirling-Rawdon community, over 500 people have signed saying ‘no’ to a BESS facility,” Michael Thompson said to council, referring to the petition he began after receiving notice about the possible project. He said many community members were concerned about the environmental and safety regulations of the project, as well as a lack of faith in what benefits could come to the community.

He added that there was not enough information shared with residents about the possibility of such a facility:

“Many were disappointed to know that Stirling-Rawdon knew about this possibility and there was no notice on the Stirling-Rawdon website that would have allowed residents more time to research this facility.”

READ MORE: What are battery energy storage systems and why are they meeting so much opposition in Ontario communities like Stirling and Napanee?

Liberty Power’s Henry Hawkins and Beatrice Ashby used their delegation to address some of the questions from their public meeting held in the beginning of November, such as environmental concerns:

“As this technology progresses it is becoming more and more safer,” said Hawkins to council. “We are required to adhere to all environmental regulations and work closely with council to meet those regulations.”

At the close of their delegation, all present members of council voted against the Liberty Power company building in Stirling-Rawdon. After the vote, Mayor Bob Mullin dismissed Hawkins and Ashby and said:

“Thank you, but this is not the time. The original presentation did not meet the satisfaction of the public and that has not changed. Thank you.”

Greater Napanee will be facing a similar vote on Nov. 28 with the company EDF Renewables.

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