Ontario Power Gen advances solar project, Darlington nuclear refurbishment

In March 2016, Nanticoke Solar LP, a partnership between Ontario Power Generation (OPG), SunEdison Canadian Construction LP and Six Nations Development Corp., was selected, through the Ontario IESO’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program to develop a 44 MW solar facility at OPG’s Nanticoke GS site and adjacent lands in Haldimand County, Ontario.

OPG noted in a May 13 financial report that the LRP program is a competitive bidding process for procuring large renewable energy projects in Ontario. In March, Nanticoke Solar LP and the IESO executed a 20-year LRP contract, which formalized the terms and conditions for the development and operation of the new solar facility. Also in March, the required performance and completion security for the project was provided to the IESO. OPG is working with its partners to obtain approvals and permits required to enable the commencement of construction planned for late-2017 or early-2018.

Another recent highlight for OPG was a Federal Court of Appeal decision on the Environmental Assessment for the Darlington Refurbishment Project. In 2013, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued a decision on the environmental assessment (EA) for the Darlington Refurbishment project, which confirmed that taking into account identified mitigation measures, the project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Later in 2013, the EA decision was challenged by certain intervenors in the EA process by way of a request for a judicial review. The challenge was dismissed by the court in 2014, following which the intervenors filed an appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal. In April 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the request for a judicial review. The court determined that there were no gaps in the EA, that there was nothing unreasonable about the discretionary determinations made by the responsible authorities, and that the intervenors’ arguments were not borne out by the evidence. OPG was also awarded its costs of the appeal as the successful party.

Also, in November 2015, an application for leave to appeal was filed with the Supreme Court of Canada by the parties that brought the judicial review for the Darlington New Nuclear Project EA following the Joint Review Panel’s (JRP) Report, which was approved by the federal government in May 2012. The JRP Report had concluded that the project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, given mitigation. In April 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the application for leave to appeal, which concluded the litigation.

In other areas for OPG:

  • Work continued in the first quarter of this year to enhance the integration of life cycle management and refurbishment programs at the Darlington GS. This included implementing staffing strategies to support both ongoing station operations and the refurbishment project, planning and incorporating pre-requisite work for the refurbishment into the station’s work schedule, and identifying life cycle and aging management work to sustain safe and reliable station operations for the next three decades.
  • Construction planning activities and contractor mobilization were completed for the execution of the Sir Adam Beck Pump GS reservoir refurbishment during the first quarter of 2016. Construction and dewatering activities commenced on April 1, 2016.
  • During the first quarter of 2016, major equipment overhauls and rehabilitation work were completed at Unit 5 of the Sir Adam Beck Pump GS, and dam concrete replacement work commenced at the Kakabeka Falls GS.
  • OPG continues to develop the decommissioning plan for the Nanticoke GS, which will be designed to accommodate the construction and operation of the new 44-MW solar facility 

Darlington Unit 2 rehab to kick things off in the fourth quarter

The Darlington generating units are approaching their originally designed end-of-life. Refurbishment of the four generating units is expected to extend the operating life of the Darlington GS by approximately 30 years. In 2016, the refurbishment project transitioned from the planning phase to the execution phase, as OPG began preparations for the refurbishment of the first unit, Unit 2, which is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2016. Preparation activities on the major sub-projects are progressing in line with the first unit’s refurbishment schedule.

Manufacturing of the tools that will be used to perform the removal and replacement of fuel channel assemblies and feeder tubes in each reactor is complete. Delivery of these tools is in progress, tracking on plan for completion in the second quarter of 2016.

A modification to increase the efficiency of the de-fueling equipment was successfully commissioned in January 2016, including an on-reactor demonstration. De-fueling is the first critical refurbishment activity once the unit is removed from service. Execution of pre-breaker open work to support the first unit’s refurbishment is in progress and is expected to be completed prior to the commencement of refurbishment activities on the first unit.

Project support activities and activities in support of requirements set out in the CNSC-approved Integrated Implementation Plan for the Darlington GS are also underway. Pre-requisite projects including construction of facilities, infrastructure upgrades and installation of safety enhancements have either been completed or are tracking to be completed in line with the refurbishment execution schedule.

Construction continues on Peter Sutherland Sr. hydro project

The project to construct the Peter Sutherland Sr. hydroelectric station is tracking on budget and on schedule. Construction work on the project continued during the first quarter of 2016, including construction of the project camp and setup of the batch concrete plant, power house concreting, slope stabilization of the intake canal, coffer dam rebuild, and headpond clearing activities. By the end of March 2016, construction and concrete work of below grade components were completed.

Peter Sutherland Sr. will be a 28-MW hydroelectric station on New Post Creek in northeastern Ontario. The C$300 million project is due to be in-service in the first half of 2018.

As of March 31, 2016, OPG’s electricity generation portfolio had an in-service capacity of 17,052 MW. OPG operates two nuclear generating stations (GS), three thermal stations, 65 hydroelectric stations, and one wind power turbine. In addition, OPG and TransCanada Energy Ltd. co-own the 550 MW Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) gas-fired combined cycle station. OPG and ATCO Power Canada Ltd. co-own the 560 MW Brighton Beach gas-fired combined cycle station.

OPG also owns two other nuclear stations, the Bruce A GS and the Bruce B GS, which are leased on a long-term basis to Bruce Power LP.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.