Ontario, Canada is now using more of its allotted water from the Niagara River for hydroelectric energy, thanks to the completion of the $1.5 billion Niagara Tunnel Project.
The new tunnel, which is 6.3 miles in length and 41 feet wide, is channeling additional water from the Niagara River to flow to the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station at a rate of 132,086 gallons per second. This will supply Ontario with enough clean, renewable electricity to power 160,000 homes for the next 100 years.
The Niagara River forms the international border dividing Canada and the US. The Niagara Treaty spells out the agreement for the two countries to share the river’s water. A minimum amount of water is guaranteed to flow over the falls. The balance – about two-thirds of average water flow – is split between the two jurisdictions for the generation of hydroelectricity. In recent years, Canada didn’t have enough infrastructure in place to use all of its allotted water.
The Niagara Tunnel, built by Ontario Power Generation, Ontario’s publicly owned power utility, is the largest hydroelectric project to come into service in Ontario for the past 50 years.
The Niagara Tunnel is as high as a four-story building. About 653,000 cubic yards of concrete was used to create the 2-foot-thick tunnel liner.
The tunnel was filled with water this month. Since 2003, more than 360 MW of new, upgraded and refurbished waterpower projects have come online in Ontario.