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Ear Falls GS Unit 1 gets a new lease on life

A photo showing Ear Falls Generating Station
Ear Falls Generating Station

In the far reaches of northwest Ontario, OPG’s Ear Falls Generating Station is now running a little more smoothly after a long-serving unit was overhauled.

Closing in on its 90th birthday, the four-unit, 17-megawatt (MW) station continues to generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power about 12,000 homes.

Recently, the station’s Unit 1 generator was returned to service after a 10-month outage to address age-related issues. The unit’s turbine had not been replaced in 40 years and had active parts original to when the unit was commissioned way back in 1930 – a testament to the station’s equipment quality and the maintenance expertise that kept it going for so long.

“This was a challenging project with numerous curve balls thrown at the team,” said Kris Chartrand, a Project Leader in OPG’s Northwest Operations. “Unforeseen challenges simply brought the best out of everyone involved and highlighted the team’s depth, competence and perseverance to complete the task.”

Completed safely on March 28, the project has improved the reliability of the 3.2 MW unit and will reduce the number of unplanned outages in the coming years. In addition, the overhaul will extend the unit’s service life by 30 years.

“All refurbished and replaced parts are operating in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible manner,” Chartrand said. ”Design changes were also implemented during the overhaul to improve overall reliability and maintainability.”