On-Site Magazine

Ontario Power Generation investing $60M to refurbish Niagara reservoir

By Ontario Power Generation   

Construction Green Construction Infrastructure niagara reservoir power generation refurbish

Stations_Hydro_Masthead_SirAdamBeck2Construction is underway to refurbish Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) reservoir at the Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station (PGS). The facility, which is the largest in Canada, can hold the equivalent of the water from 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. It fights climate change by providing clean electricity when it is needed.

“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. “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 generating station 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 of clean renewable electricity.  That’s enough electricity to power 1 million 700 thousand homes.


The PGS was built in 1957 and can fight climate change by displacing up to 600MW of fossil fuel generation for up to eight hours. That’s the equivalent storage of about 100,000 batteries that power electric cars. 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 $60 million.

“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 more than workers will be employed on the project.

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

Rankin Construction Inc. is an innovative and diverse company that has a reputation for providing solid and dependable work. The  St. Catharines company specializes in a wide range of heavy civil construction projects that include roads, bridges, sewer and water main, marine and renewable energy.

OPG provides about half the power Ontario relies on and our electricity is more than 99 per cent free of greenhouse gas and smog causing emissions.

 Pump Generating Station (PGS) Fun Facts

  • The PGS reservoir is 1km wide by about 3km long and 750 acres in size. And, it’s the only one of its kind in Canada.
  • The PGS can pump 680 cubic metres of water per second into the reservoir. That’s 680 thousand litres a second.
  • The reservoir will hold 20 million cubic metres of water. That’s 20 billion litres or the equivalent of 8,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
  • The PGS can store about the same amount of energy as 100,000 batteries that power electric cars.

SOURCE Ontario Power Generation Inc.


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