March 21, 2013 - Niagara Tunnel now in-service
Ontario’s new Niagara Tunnel is 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.
“The tunnel has claimed the attention of the entire world,” said OPG Chair Jake Epp. “It 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.”
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 stayed true to both the schedule and budget. The project cost was $100 million lower than the revised $1.6 billion cost, and the in-service date, March 9, 2013 was 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 unheard-of feat of engineering to divert water from the Niagara River, and carry it downstream to the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations. Gravity alone will propel 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 will 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? It is an incredible 12.7 metres (41 feet) wide and 10.2 kilometres (6.3 miles) long. It's so big you could drive a double-stacked container freight train through it with plenty of room to spare.