Improvement works continue at 100-year-old Sir Adam Beck I station

22 February 2022

Two new turbine and generators are set to be to be placed into service later this year at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) flagship Sir Adam Beck I Generating Station (GS) in Niagara Falls, adding about 125MW of incremental peaking generation capacity for Ontario.

OPG said that installation and testing of the new G2 unit turbine and generator will be completed by spring 2022, and workers are continuing installation of the G1 unit turbine with a late summer 2022 target for completion. The overall project is tracking on schedule and to its $128 million budget.

When it went into service a century ago, the Sir Adam Beck I station became the largest hydro plant in the world. The sprawling station, which took about 10,000 workers to build, set the stage for large-scale hydroelectric development in Ontario and cemented the province’s public power legacy.

Today, the power of the Niagara River is harnessed not just at Sir Adam Beck I, but also by an entire complex of hydro operations, which includes the 1499MW Sir Adam Beck II GS and the 174MW Sir Adam Beck Pump GS. Together, this generating complex accounts for about 40 per cent of OPG’s hydroelectric production, and will play an important role in powering Ontario’s economy and net-zero efforts in the years to come.

Decommissioned back in 2009, Beck I’s original 40 MW G1 and G2 units operated on the now discontinued 25-hertz distribution system and provided power to steel mills in Hamilton and upstate New York.

“It has been a busy past few years at the station,” said Dave Bonell, Senior Manager of Projects in OPG’s Renewable Generation division. “The investments we are making into Beck I will help the plant continue to operate reliably and efficiently for many more years. And the clean power generated here will play an important role in supporting Ontario’s economy and fighting climate change.

“The modern, larger units we are installing will make more efficient use of the available water,” added Bonell.

As testament to the station’s original design and durability, the project is reusing the existing 100-year-old penstocks and draft tubes.


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