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Ontario Starts $730M Upgrade for Niagara Hydro Stations

Ontario Launches $730M Overhaul of Niagara Hydro Stations

Ontario Power Generation Inc. has revealed plans for a 15-year refurbishment project aimed at revitalizing five hydroelectric stations in the Niagara Falls, N.Y., area. This initiative, with an estimated cost of $730 million, is intended to ensure the longevity and reliability of these facilities, securing 1,700 MW of generating capacity for the foreseeable future.

The project will commence next year and has been entrusted to GE Vernova, a recently spun-off entity from General Electric Co., based in Cambridge, Mass. Frederic Ribieras, CEO of GE Vernova’s hydro power business, emphasized that the modernization efforts will extend the operational life of the plants by over 30 years, marking a significant advancement in the hydropower industry’s approach to long-term collaboration and supply chain stability.

The refurbishment work will entail the replacement of outdated components in older generating units, such as turbine runners, with newer, more efficient designs that require less water to produce power. The initial phase of the project will focus on upgrading 25 units at the Sir Adam Beck I and II stations.

Sir Adam Beck I, with a capacity of 446 MW, and Sir Adam Beck II, the largest hydro station in Ontario at 1,499 MW, entered service in the early 1920s. Ontario Power anticipates that these upgrades will boost their capacity by up to 50 MW. Additionally, the project may encompass the Sir Adam Beck Pump, DeCew I, and DeCew II generating stations, collectively contributing about 9% of Ontario’s energy supply.

Ontario Starts $730M Upgrade for Niagara Hydro Stations

Ontario Starts $730M Upgrade for Niagara Hydro Stations (Credits: Power Technology)

Ken Hartwick, president and CEO of Ontario Power, underscored the significance of enhancing and optimizing renewable energy assets like the Sir Adam Beck complex to meet the rising demands of electrification and sustain a thriving economy.

The five facilities slated for refurbishment are all situated along the Niagara River, a strategically vital location for hydroelectric power generation. Ontario Power Generation operates a diverse portfolio of energy facilities, including hydroelectric, nuclear, natural gas, biomass, and solar installations, totaling 18,236 MW of generating capacity as of December 2023, following the closure of its last coal-fired station in 2014.

GE Vernova, which commenced trading on the NY Stock Exchange under the symbol GEV on April 2, is comprised of three key divisions inherited from its parent company: Electrification, Power, and Wind. Analysts at Goldman Sachs have expressed optimism about the company’s prospects, citing its strategic positioning to benefit from the ongoing energy transition.

GE Vernova is scheduled to release its first quarter 2024 financial results on April 25. James Leggate, an online news editor at ENR with over a decade of reporting experience, provided insights into the developments surrounding this significant refurbishment project in the energy sector.

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