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Letter: A better way for Sudbury to generate power

Floating solar panels may be the perfect way for Greater Sudbury, and its 330 lakes, to generate clean electricity
typewriter pexels-cottonbro-3945337 (From Pexels by Cottonbro)

It has come to my attention that in the Greater Sudbury Community Energy and Emissions Plan  (CEEP), released in 2019, a portion of the document is dedicated to implementing local clean energy generation measures. 

According to the plan, this section outlines specific goals, which will see the power grid wholly replaced with renewable, green energy. 

Much of this energy, as is stated in this document, is intended to be photovoltaic, i.e. solar panels or PV. I’m excited to hear about this plan, which I honestly heard about just recently, and support it in its initial endeavours. 

I am, however, wondering if there wouldn’t be a better way. 

Sudbury’s own Bruce Mau labelled our city as the City of Lakes, and with the roughly 330 lakes within its borders, it’s not hard to see why. 

My question, then, is this: would it not be ideal to be able to use these lakes as the staging ground for a fleet of floating photovoltaic fields? Capitalizing on the natural landscape while generating green energy seems to me to be an ideal scenario. 

Just like Sudbury was, and remains, a world leader in the immense regreening efforts that have transformed our stony and barren landscape, we can once again pioneer a green method of energy  generation which can be repeated over the vast swaths of the Canadian Shield. 

This idea is most assuredly not new. The French company Ciel & Terre already provides a catalogue of floating PV solutions, some of which have been shown to function well in freezing conditions, such as those in Northern Ontario. 

I sincerely hope to see a feasibility study in Sudbury’s future concerning the viability of floating PV.

David Gagnon,