March 21, 2013
Niagara Tunnel Now In-Service
Ontario’s new Niagara Tunnel is now in-service producing more clean, renewable, low-cost electricity at the Sir Adam Beck generating complex.
At a ceremony to celebrate water flowing in the tunnel, OPG President and CEO Tom Mitchell congratulated the contractor STRABAG and “...the hundreds of men and women who worked with extremely difficult rock conditions to safely complete this engineering marvel.” STRABAG’s safety record was twice as good as the industry average.
OPG Chair, Jake Epp said, “The tunnel has claimed the attention of the entire world,” and is “...a fitting representative of Canada’s, Ontario’s and OPG’s great legacy of electricity development and operation.”
“This project is a source of pride as an engineering feat and as a practical solution for meeting Ontario's energy needs through clean sources,” remarked Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli. “The completion of this project will provide Ontario with a source of clean energy for the next 100 years.”
Guests included Minister of Environment Jim Bradley, Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor, and Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati. Also on hand to celebrate the opening were grade 2 and 3 students from Welland’s Port Weller Public School who performed their Niagara Tunnel song. Minister Chiarelli presented the students with certificates of appreciation for being ambassadors of the Niagara Tunnel project.
The project remains one of the best value renewable energy initiatives in Ontario. OPG and STRABAG agreed to a revised schedule in early 2009 due to difficult rock conditions, and have stayed true to both the schedule and budget. In fact, the project cost will be $100 million lower than the revised $1.6 billion cost, and the in-service date, March 9, is nine months sooner than projected in 2009.A Major OPG Clean-Energy Project
When someone says "Niagara Falls" what comes to mind? The spectacular Horseshoe Falls? The victory won at the Battle of Queenston Heights? How about the city's reputation as the Honeymoon Capital of the World? Now Canadians have another reason to be proud of Niagara Falls—the Niagara Tunnel, a major clean-energy project by Ontario Power Generation, Ontario's publicly owned power utility.
A Monster Tunnel
The largest hard rock Tunnel Boring Machine in the world finished drilling a massive tunnel deep beneath the City of Niagara Falls in May 2011. It is an incredible 12.7 metres (41 feet) wide and 10.2 kilometres (6.3 miles) long. In March 2013, the tunnel was filled with water and now provides additional water to generate more clean, renewable electricity at the Sir Adam Beck stations.
Olympic-Sized Volumes of Water
OPG planned this feat of engineering to divert water from the Niagara River, and carry it downstream to the Sir Adam Beck generating complex. Gravity alone propels the water at an incredible 500 cubic metres (17,660 cubic feet) per second. Think of it this way: that speed and volume of water would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a matter of seconds.
Drilling for a Greener Future
OPG's Niagara Tunnel is a source of pride not only as an engineering feat, but also as a practical solution for meeting Ontario's energy needs through clean sources. The tunnel can annually produce more power, on average, than cities the size of Niagara Falls or Kingston use every year. With minimal maintenance costs, all this energy will be generated year-in, year-out for a hundred years or more.
How big is it? Before the tunnel was lined, its bored diameter was 14.4 metres (47.3 feet) high. That's as tall as a four-storey building. It's so big you could drive a double-stacked container freight train through it with plenty of room to spare.