Al Seaman replies to Mayor John Levi on the Enerdu project (2012)


John –

You responded, in a widely circulated email, to Dan Coates on April 17 on the subject of the Enerdu project. After due consideration, I would like to comment further. To refresh
memories your note is reproduced below:



Subject: Enerdu

Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 12:35:33 -0400

Dan I am disappointed in your opposition. I believe this is a good truly green energy project and will not harm the appearance of the falls. It may well improve the view by removing the unsightly boards. There will be some disruption during construction but this is always the case. They have committed to keep disruption to a minimum and work with us on timing. When the project is complete I feel we will all be proud of it. I agree they could have did better presentation but I have had a lot of people comment afterwards to me that they had better understanding and saw no problem.

You will always have some that will never agree no matter what. They have had to to go through all the environmental and regularity processes that are in place Provincially and Federally. I have not commented previously as we have little regulative authority and I needed more facts. I will be supporting this project.

John, I too am disappointed. Not with Dan’s opposition to Enerdu plans, but rather with your support of the project. It will involve a massive re-engineering of the Mississipppi
River opposite the Riverwalk, and without question is going to degrade the appearance of the falls and the river front.

The project will also result in the continuation of the higher river levels that resulted from the change to half metre high flash boards around 2004. Having canoed and kayaked the
stretch of river from Appleton to Almonte many times over the past 40 years it was clear to me that summer water levels increased significantly at that time, and included flooding of
the wetlands on this stretch to levels much higher than the normal summer low water levels. By 2006 there was clear evidence of the trees in the wetlands starting to die as a result of drowning from the excessive summer levels. This has continued in recent years, and it is now urgent that summer water levels be reduced to the original levels that existed prior to 2004. The Enerdu project as planned will not do this.

In addition, it should be noted that while the raised levels increase the available head at Almonte, and provide for increased power generation at Enerdu, it also raises the level
at the tailrace of the Appleton power plant. This in turn reduces the effective head and power generation there. The net effect is not a significant increase in total green power from
the Mississippi but simply a shift of generation capacity from Appleton to Almonte.

In short, this is not a green project. It proposes a massive change to the Almonte waterfront that can only be classed as environmental damage, it continues the current excessive
summer water levels that are damaging the river wetlands, and for all that damage will not provide a net gain in total power production from the river.

To be truly green, the Enerdu upgrades should be limited to replacing turbines and generators in the existing power house with more efficient units, making minor improvements to water flow in the plant intake and tailrace, and a return to the summer water levels that existed prior to 2004. In short, the plant should return to being a true run-of-the-river plant. In
particular there should be no new power house extending 15 metres into the river, no new dam, and no major excavation of the river bed.

I hope that you will see the long term benefits of reducing the scale of the Enerdu project and that you will support this alternate vision of the greening of the Mississippi.

Regards – Al Seaman