A looming municipal election provides opportunity to raise some issues relevant to South Stormont’s future economy. The newly designated industrial area between Hwy 401 and the CN Rail line, to the east of Moulinette Road has the advantage of being in close proximity to main power transmission lines, a natural gas pipeline, an oil pipeline, a supply of water from the St Lawrence River and fibre-optic telecommunications buried next to the railway line and Hwy 401. Ontario’s power pricing policy may be a disadvantage if businesses that move into that industrial area will have to pay the same rates as businesses in Brockville and Ottawa.
Transmission lines require maintenance and dissipate energy in the form of heat. The longer the distance from the site of power generation, the higher the maintenance cost and power loss along the transmission line. Businesses that move into South Stormont’s new industrial area may indirectly subsidize commercial power rates in Ottawa and Brockville. A tariff based on distance from the power station would give the South Stormont business area an advantage in the form of lower commercial electric power bills.
There are several outcrops of gravel in the designated business area. Deposits of gravel located deep underground have commercial value if they can be saturated with groundwater. In Alberta during summer, an energy business uses solar thermal collection technology to raise the temperature of an underground deposit of water-logged gravel to 80-degrees centigrade. During winter, that stored heat flows through insulated pipes to provide the interior heating requirements of several buildings, at very low cost. Further investigation will be required to determine as to whether such seasonal geothermal energy storage will be possible at South Stormont’s designated business area.
There may be benefit in evaluating the lands west of Moulinette Road, between Hwy 401 and CN Rail line, for underground gravel deposits that may be suitable for seasonal geothermal energy storage using stored summer-solar heat. That heat could sustain the winter interior heating requirements of hothouses and greenhouses, at low cost. Those lands are zoned for agricultural use and could become the site of large greenhouses or hothouses that could supply competitively priced produce to a future food distribution centre.
It is unfortunate that South Stormont endured the debacle of a proposed bio-pellet plant that initially had been promised government funding. Several years earlier, Cornwall endured the debacle of a proposed corn-ethanol plant, also on promised government funding. Fortunately, Greenfield Ethanol resolved Cornwall’s ethanol plant debacle by opening their ethanol plant at Johnstown. Cornwall’s economy has had a long and sad history with industries that depend on government funding, none of which remained inthe city for very long.
Businesses and industries across Ontario are dealing with higher electrical energy costs, also higher costs to provide interior heating inside large buildings. If lower energy costs became available to businesses in South Stormont (and in Cornwall), perhaps a few business and industries that operate FREE from the promise government handouts, may be interested in evaluating future prospects for themselves in this region.
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