Ontario: We like 'em BIG!


$100 Site Donor 2021
Apr 28, 2008
Ontario, Canada
I know Americans are typically associated with "going big" but on the power generation front, nobody touches the former Ontario Hydro.

Not long after Beck II was built at Niagara Falls, Ontario Hydro embarked upon probably the largest per-capita build of power generation stations in North America.

Ontario Hydro's philosophy was one of efficiency: We build big, multi-unit plants, because that's the most efficient approach. So, everything was built in a 4-pack or 8-pack. That meant BIG plants, REALLY big plants, with common turbine halls.

In 1962, Ontario Hydro broke ground on the Lakeview Generating Station, a massive 8-unit coal plant with a 2,400MW installed capacity:

In 1966, they broke-ground on Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, which was to be an 8-unit nuclear plant with a nameplate capacity of 4,124MW. At the time, this was the largest nuclear plant in the world:

A year later, in 1967, they broke ground on Nanticoke, the largest coal power plant in North America, also an 8-unit plant with a nameplate capacity of 4,096MW:

Just a few years later again, in 1970, they broke ground on what would be the world's largest operating Nuclear power plant, Bruce, with an original nameplate capacity of 6,440MW:

In 1982, they then broke ground on Darlington A, which was supposed to also be an 8-unit plant with a nameplate capacity of 7,048MW, but only the 4-unit A site was ever built:

Not built, but of course proposed were Darlington B and Bruce C. An additional 8 units of the C9 design (what was built at Darlington, 881MWe original nameplate) were proposed to be built at both locations, which would have brought Darlington up to its planned 7,048MWe capacity and put Bruce at 9,964MWe, by far the largest nuclear power plant on earth.

Unfortunately, Ontario Hydro was broken up with its nuclear assets split between Bruce Power (who revisited the Bruce C project but have not yet proceeded with it) and OPG, which owns and operates both the Darlington and Pickering plants. Nanticoke and Lakeview were both retired during Ontario's coal phase-out.

These are absolutely massive civil engineering projects, executed in astonishingly short timeframes and, as far as the nuclear assets go, still operating today. I find it depressing looking at projects like Vogtle, BC's Site C and HQ's Muskrat Falls and seeing how we've fallen so far from grace. Unable to execute something smaller than any of these on-time and on-budget. Pickering units were 6-years from shovel to breaker.

Ontario Hydro's long-term plans were incredible. It was soft-path politics that screwed everything and now as we sit looking at trying to "green" our grids, the legacy of these potential constructs haunts us, as we'd be fossil free entirely had Bruce C and Darlington B been built.

Not bad for a small group of former British colonists that are mostly clustered around the Great Lakes and freeze for half the year. ;)
Buddy of mine shared this on twitter, apparently AECL and Ontario Hydro were very ambitious: