Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The other officials speak proudly of now, the origins

The Big Move, the regional transportation plan (RTP) published
by Metrolinx in 2008, placed emphasis on reducing traffic congestion on the
400-series highways and reducing dependence on cars within the GTHA 1. One of the factors for
achieving this goal is crucial east-west transit connections such as the Eglinton
Crosstown LRT. Using the Alternative Finance Procurement (AFP) model,
Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx have been able deliver this project. While
the AFP program has been valuable in allowing for the delivery of complex,
necessary infrastructure like the Eglinton Crosstown, there are still many
lessons to be learned. This report will examine one of those lessons, the Crosstown
Battery Facility.

1.1  
Origins of the Battery Facility

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During
the first lecture, Jamie Robinson, Director of Community Relations and
Communications at Metrolinx, had noted a new innovative battery facility to be
installed in the neighborhood of Mount Dennis. Although this is a topic that
Metrolinx and other officials speak proudly of now, the origins of this
innovation spawned from several disputes. As part of the procurement process,
the Project Specific Output Specifications (PSOS) called for the lowest 30-year
life-cycle electricity costs for the LRT 2. This was proposed
due to concerns over bulk power disruptions within the City of Toronto 2. This backup power
is crucial to ensure that trains are able to move and exit tunnels while also
powering the emergency ventilation system.

2.0    
The AFP Process at Fault?

One of the factors that will be investigated in this proposal
is whether these issues should have been caught during the Request for Proposal
(RFP) phase of the AFP as these proposals are reviewed rigorously during this
phase by IO, Metrolinx, and Metrolinx’s Technical Advisors (TAs). This report
will also investigate whether heavy weighting on project cost played a role in derailing
initial plans for the power facility. Additional factors to be investigated are
expanded upon.

2.1  
Consortia’s Ethical Obligations

Crosslink Transit Solutions is the
Consortia that was awarded the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Their proposition to Metrolinx’s
request for a low 30-year life-cycle electricity cost was an 18MW natural gas
fired power plant which was to be situated at the western terminus of the new
LRT line 2. Although the AFP
project delivery model grants points to numerous factors other than bid cost,
the cost of construction/project delivery still plays a huge role in
determining who is awarded a job. A quick aerial review of the western terminus
area reveals its proximity to residential areas. There was substantial backlash
from Mount Dennis community groups upon hearing of this proposition 3. This report will consider
whether the awarded Consortia proposed a gas plant knowing it would be rejected
by the public. This is important as contractors are notorious for finding
loopholes in proposals. A natural gas plant may have been the cheapest option
available to meet Metrolinx’s PSOS requirements and remain in compliance,
however, this may have been proposed to keep final bid costs low knowing the
Consortia would not be held liable once awarded the job.

3.0    
Natural gas Vs. Battery STorage

3.1  
Community Uproar Valid?

Community groups from around the
Mount Dennis area voiced their concerns regarding the Consortia’s power plant
proposal and signed petitions to have other solutions proposed 3. This report will examine
whether these concerns were valid as the power plant was slated to be used only
in emergency cases only. The use of natural gas is growing in popularity as it
provides cleaner energy compared to traditional methods 4; hence, this report
will look into whether the resident’s concerns regarding the proximity of the
proposed power plant was valid. Finally, this report will also evaluate how
Metrolinx and IO managed concerns and whether more could have been done to
mitigate the issues.

4.0    
Conclusion

The purpose of this report will be to conduct a comprehensive
investigative analysis into the proposed battery facility. This report will
answer several questions: Should this issue have been flagged during the
earlier phases of the AFP process? Should more points have been awarded to
greener solutions for the energy facility? Is there an ethical issue to what
was proposed by the Consortia? This report will also look into whether the
concerns regarding the natural gas plant were valid and will also review
natural gas facilities which have been applied in similar situations. Finally,
this report will examine the overall cost of this mishap and the impact this
delay had on the project budget. This will be done by completing a detailed
review of the financial benefits of a battery storage facility vs natural gas. Sources
to be used include the Crosstown Environmental Assessment, Project Agreement and
logs, greenhouse gas studies, periodical articles, battery storage facility
feasibility studies, and the Toronto Reference Library.

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