DRAINAGE BASIN: Lake Erie
RIVER: Niagara River
NEAREST POPULATION CENTRE: Queenston, Ontario
IN SERVICE DATE: 1957/1958
NUMBER OF UNITS: 6
CAPACITY: 174 MW
CONTROL: Remote from Sir Adam Beck II
The Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station (PGS) is located near Queenston on the Niagara River. The six unit station has a generation capacity of 174 megawatts which is enough electricity to power about 170,000 homes each year.
The station features a 750-acre reservoir that is pumped full of water overnight when electricity demand is low. It takes about eight hours to fill the reservoir and it can hold as much water as about 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. When electricity demand is high, the stored water is used to increase flow through the station’s turbines and generate more power than would otherwise be possible. The reservoir can store the same amount of energy as one million car batteries and can displace the use of up to 600 megawatts of fossil fuel generation.
The Sir Adam Beck PGS and its reservoir were constructed concurrently with the Sir Adam Beck II Generating Station and entered service in 1957. In 2017, OPG completed a $60-million refurbishment of the station’s reservoir to extend its operating life for another 50 years.
The pumped-storage strategy used at the Sir Adam Beck PGS enables OPG to make more effective use of the water available for power production under the Niagara Diversion Treaty of 1950. This treaty ensures a sufficient flow of water over Niagara Falls to maintain its scenic beauty, and sets out conditions for sharing the remaining water to generate power at the nearby Canadian and American hydroelectric facilities.
The Sir Adam Beck PGS plays an important role in generating flexible, emissions-free power for Ontario. It is the only facility of its kind in Canada and is part of OPG’s clean energy portfolio which is more than 99 per cent free of greenhouse gas and smog causing emissions.