Ontario Power kicks off C$60m project to rehab pumped storage reservoir

Construction is underway to refurbish Ontario Power Generation‘s (OPG) reservoir at the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station (PGS).

“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,” says Mike Martelli, OPG’s President Renewable Energy and Power Marketing, in a June 3 statement. “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.”

“I’m proud of OPG’s facilities here in Niagara,” said Bob Delaney, Ontario’s Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy. “They are the province’s largest producer of renewable energy and continue to play an important role in fighting climate change.”

Sir Adam Beck I generating station has served Ontario since 1921. Sir Adam Beck II opened in 1954. Both stations have been upgraded over the years, and along with the Pump Generating Station have a combined capacity of over 2,100 MW.

The PGS was built in 1957 and can fight climate change by displacing up to 600 MW of fossil fuel generation for up to eight hours, the utility noted. Water in the reservoir is used at the pump generating station and again at the Beck station to generate clean electricity.

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 most of the work is being done.

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

“We’re excited to have won the competitive contract to refurbish the reservoir at the Pump Generating Station,” said 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.

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

The PGS reservoir is 1 kilometer wide by about 3 kilometers long and 750 acres in size. The PGS can pump 680 cubic meters of water per second into the reservoir. The reservoir will hold 20 million cubic meters of water.

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.