By Ray Spiteri, Niagara Falls Review
Posted: February 15, 2017 12:43:49 PM
The reservoir at the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station, which was emptied last year as part of a $60-million refurbishment project, is now back in service.
The 750-acre reservoir — the largest in Canada that is able to hold the equivalent of the water from 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — was taken offline last April so Rankin Construction can install a synthetic liner in selected areas, and re-grade the floor in various locations to remove depressions and make the surface more even.
The project was expected to take one year to complete, but has finished nearly two months in advance and for less than the planned budget, said officials with Ontario Power Generation.
“We’re pretty proud that the pump generating station reservoir has been refurbished safely, ahead of schedule and under budget,” said OPG spokesman Neal Kelly. “It’s a testament to our dedicated staff and their commitments to project excellence.
“We took the reservoir out of service on April 1 last year and it was planned to take about one year to complete the project and we put the project back online last weekend.”
OPG officials said the project will ensure carbon-free electricity for another 50 years or more.
“The great thing about this reservoir is the value that it brings to the Ontario electricity system,” said Kelly. “You’re able to store water, so you have the value of storing energy and you pump that water into the reservoir at night when demand is low and then you’re able to run the water back through the generating units during high demand. It’s a real win for electricity customers.”
Rankin Construction used more than 100 employees and contractors for the project.
OPG’s Niagara operations has more than 200 employees, approximately 30 of whom work at the pump generating station.
OPG officials invited local and provincial dignitaries, as well as the media, to the site last June to learn more about the project.
The pump generating station is located along the Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls, near the Floral Clock, and is the only pump generating station in Canada.
Sir Adam Beck I generating station has served Ontario since 1921.
Sir Adam Beck generating station II opened in 1954.
Both stations have been upgraded over the years, and along with the pump generating station, have a combined capacity of more than 2,200 megawatts of clean renewable electricity.
That’s enough electricity to power 1.7-million homes.
Built in 1957, the pump generating station can displace up to 600 megawatts of fossil fuel generation for nearly eight hours, according to OPG. That’s the equivalent storage of about 100,000 batteries that power electric cars.
Water in the reservoir is used for electricity production at the power generating station and again for a second time at the Beck station.