Former coal-fired power plant in Ontario becomes solar facility

Nanticoke solar project. Photo by Ontario Power Generation.

The former Nanticoke Generating Station site, located on the northern shore of Lake Erie, has been transformed into a 44-megawatt clean energy facility that hosts 192,431 solar panels across 260 acres.

The project has just been completed by PCL Construction, a company that was commissioned to design, engineer and build it, as well as supply the photovoltaic solar panels and racking system. Behind the idea and funding are Ontario Power Generation, the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Former Nanticoke Generating Station. Photo by Ontario Power Generation.

The opening of the solar facility coincides with the one-year anniversary of the demolition of the Nanticoke 650-feet smokestacks. It has also been almost five years since the station burned its last piece of coal.

In its heyday, the Nanticoke Generating Station was the largest coal-fired plant in North America, providing 15% of Ontario’s electricity. After serving the province for more than 40 years, it stopped using coal as fuel in 2013. Two years later, the site was safely closed while the switchyards, operated by Hydro One Networks, remain in operation as a significant hub for the electricity grid in the southwestern part of the region.

Official information indicates that some parts of the former facility, such as the powerhouse, still need to be torn down. Following the last demolition scheduled for September 2019, the site will undergo a restoration process in 2020.

Since 2014, Ontario Power Generation stopped using coal to generate electricity in Canada’s most populous province, a move that resulted in the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road.

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