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OPG investing $60M refurbishing Niagara reservoir


June 7, 2016 – Construction is underway to refurbish Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) reservoir at the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station (PGS), which OPG says can hold the equivalent of water from 8000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“We are refurbishing the reservoir so that it can operate for another 50 years or more as Canada’s largest and most flexible energy storage facility,” said Mike Martelli, OPG’s president of renewable energy and power marketing. “The value of the PGS is that it uses electricity in off-peak periods to pump water into the reservoir so that the water can be used to generate emission-free power when electricity demand is high.”

Sir Adam Beck I generating station has served Ontario since 1921 and Sir Adam Beck II generating station opened in 1954. Both stations have been upgraded over the years, and, along with the PGS, have a combined capacity of over 2100MW of electricity, according to OPG—enough electricity to power 1 million 700 thousand homes.

The PGS was built in 1957 and displaces up to 600MW of fossil fuel generation for up to eight hours, OPG says—the equivalent storage of about 100,000 batteries that power electric cars.

The civil construction work includes refurbishing the 750-acre reservoir and installing a partial new liner. With the reservoir now drained, Rankin Construction is repairing the former Portage Road, which remained at the bottom of the reservoir when it was built. The old road will be used during construction to carry materials to the east end of the reservoir, where OPG says most of the work is being done.

The total investment, including several years of planning to prepare for the project, is about $60 million, the company states.

“We’re excited to have won the competitive contract to refurbish the reservoir at the Pump Generating Station,” says Rankin Construction president Brian Rankin. “We’re a local company and this work will ensure good jobs in the Niagara Region.”  

At peak, over 100 workers will be employed on the project, OPG says.

The rehabilitation work is expected to be completed this coming winter.