September 26, 2019
5 min read

PowerNews Fall 2019

PowerNews is a quarterly round-up of stories and employee profiles that showcase our projects, operations, environmental initiatives, and dedicated employees.

In the Fall 2019 issue, we get an update on the progress of the Darlington Refurbishment, with Unit 2’s construction now in its final stages.

In the employee spotlight is Jessica Polak, Vice-President of Operations for OPG’s South Central Operations. She shares insights on a varied and non-traditional career path.

Also in this issue, we take a look at another successful relocation of lake sturgeon on the Mattagami River and spotlight this year’s promising recipients of the John Wesley Beaver Awards. Also featured is a story on a new micro grid now producing clean power for a community in northwest Ontario, and a look at some of the valuable work taking place to protect the Minesing Wetlands, the “Everglades of the north.”

OPG reports positive Q2 results and new acquisition agreements

OPG reported positive generation and financial performance in the second quarter of 2019, and announced several new strategic acquisition agreements.

The company’s net income attributable to the Shareholder for Q2 was $351 million compared to $121 million for the same period last year. This past quarter, OPG generated 20.2 terawatt hours (TWh) compared to 17.2 TWh in the same quarter in 2018.OPG Year to Date June 30 results

“As Ontario’s only publicly-owned electricity generator, OPG is pleased to report that our second quarter results once again provided a strong return for our shareholder, the Province of Ontario,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. “Our strong generation performance is a testament to the quality and commitment of our employees, ensuring we deliver real value throughout our operations.”

Generation was boosted by higher nuclear generation of 2.7 TWh during the second quarter primarily due to fewer planned outage days at OPG’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station (GS) and Pickering Nuclear GS. This resulted in higher revenue of $215 million from OPG’s regulated nuclear generation segment. As a result, Darlington’s unit capability factor increased to 95.7 per cent, compared to 67.4 per cent for the same quarter in 2018. Meanwhile, Pickering’s unit capability factor also increased to 86.4 per cent in Q2 compared to 71.3 per cent for the same period last year.

OPG’s regulated hydroelectric stations also experienced higher generation of 0.5 TWh in the second quarter, primarily due to higher water flows across most of the province. Availability at these stations increased to 91.4 per cent in Q2 compared to 88.6 per cent over the same period last year.

Over the summer, OPG entered into a purchase agreement to acquire a portfolio of combined-cycle natural gas-fired plants in Ontario. This includes acquiring full ownership of the Napanee GS and Halton Hills GS, as well as the remaining 50 per cent ownership in the Portlands Energy Centre. In addition, the company also entered into a purchase agreement for the remaining 50 per cent ownership in the Brighton Beach GS. These acquisitions, once closed, will add more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) to OPG’s in-service generating capacity and help ensure the reliability of Ontario’s electricity system while back-stopping intermittent sources of power like solar and wind.

Also in June, OPG entered into an agreement to acquire Cube Hydro, an operator of 19 hydroelectric facilities in the northeast and southeast United States, representing 385 MW of in-service capacity. The acquisition, once closed, will provide additional scale to the company’s existing U.S. hydro platform, which includes Eagle Creek Renewable, and will help grow OPG’s revenue base over the long term and provide enhanced returns for Ontarians.

On the Darlington Refurbishment project, OPG made major advances over the past quarter with the successful installation of fuel channels as well as upper and middle feeders on Unit 2, the first of four units to undergo refurbishment. Unit 2 is currently undergoing lower feeder installation, where OPG has identified some challenges in achieving the planned installation rate for the series. Given the challenges, OPG expects Unit 2 to return to service in the second quarter of 2020, rather than February 2020 as previously anticipated, to ensure commissioning is completed safely and to the highest industry standards. The overall project continues to track on schedule and to our $12.8-billion budget. Preparation is also continuing for refurbishment of the next unit, Unit 3, which is expected to begin in Q1 2020.

OPG is also nearing the finish line on the expansion project at Ranney Falls GS. Work on a new 10 MW single-unit powerhouse at the existing site is nearly complete, with the spillway gate recently put into service. The new unit replaces an existing unit that reached its end of life in 2014. Testing and commissioning of the turbine and generator of the new unit is in progress. The project, which is tracking on schedule and on budget, is expected to be in service in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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