OPG begins construction on Niagara Tunnel project to increase Beck station hydroelectric output
NIAGARA FALLS, ONT-Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has officially begun construction on its $985-million, 10.4-kilometre Niagara Tunnel project to increase the output of power from Niagara Falls. It is expected to be producing new, clean electricity by late 2009. The project involves boring a tunnel 14.4 metres in diameter at a depth of up to 140 metres below the city of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. The tunnel will enhance the original engineering accomplishment of the Sir Adam Beck complex in transporting water along the Niagara Escarpment to increase its energy output. The tunnel also will complement the recently-completed upgrading of the 16 generating units at the Sir Adam Beck 2 station. The nine-year project, which increased the station's total potential peak output by 194 megawatts, was completed ahead of schedule and about 15% under its original budget estimate of $220-million. "When completed, the Niagara Tunnel will enable the Beck complex to produce an additional 1.6 terawatt-hours [1.6 billion kilowatt-hours] of electricity per year for at least the next 90 years - enough extra annual energy to power a city double the size of Niagara Falls," said OPG president and CEO Jim Hankinson.