Ontario Power Generation
|Headquarters||Ontario Power Building|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Bernard Lord, Chair|
Ken Hartwick, President & CEO
|Revenue||$5.53 billion CAD (2018) |
|$1.20 billion CAD (2018) |
|Owner||Government of Ontario|
Number of employees
Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) is a Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Ontario. OPG is responsible for approximately half of the electricity generation in the Province of Ontario, Canada. Sources of electricity include nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, gas and biomass. Although Ontario has an open electricity market, the provincial government, as OPG's sole shareholder, regulates the price the company receives for its electricity to be less than the market average, in an attempt to stabilize prices. Since 1 April 2008, the company's rates have been regulated by the Ontario Energy Board.
OPG was established in April 1999 under the Ontario Progressive Conservative government of premier Mike Harris as a precursor to deregulation of the province's electricity market. As part of government plans to privatize the assets of Ontario Hydro, the utility was split into five separate corporations. OPG was created as the owner and operator of all of Ontario Hydro's electricity generating stations.
Board of directors
Ken Hartwick is the President and Chief Executive Officer of OPG. He was appointed to this position on 1 April 2019 when the previous President and CEO, Jeffrey J. "Jeff" Lyash, resigned.
Other current members of the Board include William A. Coley, John Herron, M. George Lewis, Peggy Mulligan, Gerry Phillips, Lisa DeMarco, Brendan Hawley, Ira Kagan, Nicole Boivin, Jean Paul (JP) Gladu, Yezdi Pavri and Jim Reinsch.
The financial situation at Ontario Power Generation has improved significantly since 2003. Its profits for 2005 were $366 million, and its credit rating was upgraded. In July 2006, Liberal Energy Minister Dwight Duncan described OPG's turnaround as "[o]ne of the untold stories of the last two years"
On the local public relations side, OPG has won many awards for its performance as a "good corporate citizen". Most recently, OPG was named for the fourth year in a row to the Corporate Knights Top 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada. OPG regularly sponsors community events across the province and houses wildlife trails in the exclusion zones around its nuclear stations in Durham Region. The company's annual employee charity campaign has raised millions of dollars for charities across Ontario. In October 2008, OPG was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, OPG was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.
OPG regularly reports on its operational, safety and environmental record. The company publishes quarterly Performance reports summarizing its performance in these areas.
OPG is the owner and operator of two nuclear power plants; Pickering Nuclear Generation Station in Pickering, Ontario and Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Courtice, Ontario. OPG also owns two other nuclear generating stations on Lake Huron in western Ontario which are leased to and operated by Bruce Power.
OPG also operates three facilities for the interim management of nuclear waste generated by OPG's 10 nuclear reactors and Bruce Power's eight nuclear reactors. The company is proposing to construct and operate a deep geologic repository (DGR) on the Bruce Nuclear site, adjacent to its present Western Waste Management Facility. The repository would provide permanent storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste produced from the operation of the Bruce, Pickering, and Darlington nuclear generating stations. In 2005, OPG initiated the regulatory approval process.
Following a comprehensive Environmental Assessment (EA) process and two rounds of public hearings in front of a federal joint review panel (JRP), on May 6, 2015 the JRP issued the EA Report and recommended the approval of OPG's DGR to the federal government.
In February 2016, the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change delayed a decision on OPG's DGR, causing a pause in the timeline for the EA decision to be issued. While the JRP had recommended to the federal government the project move forward based on the strong technical safety case, the Minister requested OPG provide further information. OPG has committed to provide the requested studies and additional information by the end of 2016.
OPG has also begun the process of building up to four new nuclear units at the site of its Darlington Nuclear Generating Station but in October 2013, the Province of Ontario declared that the Darlington new build project would not be part of Ontario's long-term energy plan, citing the high capital cost estimates and energy surplus in the province at the time of the announcement.
Pickering End of Commercial Operations
In January 2016, the Province of Ontario approved plans to pursue continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to 2024.
OPG will work with the Ministry of Energy, the Independent Electricity System Operator and the Ontario Energy Board to pursue continued operation of the Pickering Station to 2024. All six units would operate until 2022; two units would then shut down and four units would operate to 2024. Extending Pickering's operation will ensure a reliable, clean source of base load electricity during refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and the initial Bruce Nuclear refurbishments.
Any plan to extend Pickering's life requires approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). OPG is currently working on a licence application to the CNSC for approval in 2018.
OPG has also made some investments in alternative electricity generation. OPG owns and operates a wind turbine at the Pickering Nuclear site location.
By 2014, OPG had stopped burning traditional coal to generate electricity. Thermal electricity-generating stations were traditionally coal-fired, creating problems caused by pollution. While the Nanticoke Generating Station, on Lake Erie in Haldimand County, Ontario, and the Lambton Generating Station were shut down, OPG did convert two other coal-fueled power plants. Atikokan Generating Station in Atikokan, Ontario, was converted in 2012 to burning steam-treated wood pellets or "biomass" as OPG refers to it. "Biomass wood pellets are a sustainable fuel recognized as beneficial to climate change mitigation, as identified in the Biomass Sustainability Analysis Report by the Pembina Institute", according to OPG. The company says that this generating station is "North America's largest 100 per cent biomass-fuelled power plant". Thunder Bay Generating Station in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was converted to using "advanced" biomass in 2014. "It is a solid biomass fuel ... has higher energy density and is hydrophobic (repels water) allowing it withstand the elements while being stored outside," according to OPG.
In March 2016, OPG and partners SunEdison Canadian Construction LP and Six Nations Development Corporation were selected by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to develop a 44 MW solar facility on and near the Nanticoke Generating Station site on Lake Erie.
The company is proud of its achievements in reducing pollution. "Now, together with a diverse fleet that includes 65 hydroelectric stations and two nuclear stations, OPG’s power is more than 99 per cent free of smog and greenhouse gas emissions."
Controversies and criticism
Prior to shutting down its coal fueled generating stations, OPG attracted considerable controversy for the operation of coal-fired generating stations, which ranked among Canada's largest individual air pollution sources. This was mostly because Nanticoke housed a massive 3,900 MW of generation capacity in one site: it produced "the most pollution in one site" despite being a reasonably clean plant per megawatt of power. Nanticoke Generating Station was North America's largest coal-fired generating station and the single largest air pollution source for southern Ontario and northern New York state, attracting considerable criticism from environmentalists and legislators in both jurisdictions. OPG's Lambton Generating Station was the second largest air polluter in the province. The Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty came to power in 2003 with a promise to phase out coal generation by 2007. However, for various operational and demand reasons this was not possible until 2014, when the last coal was burned in OPG's stations.
The company also endured significant criticism concerning the slow return to operation of some of its nuclear generating stations which had been shut down by the Northeast blackout of 2003. The problem was that all but one of the reactors were tripped and allowed to poison out, preventing an early reconnection to the electricity grid. Once shut down, all nuclear reactors take several days to return to service.
Another source of criticism was the extended and expensive refit to the reactor Unit 4 at the Pickering A Nuclear Station. In late 2003, the incoming Liberal government fired the three most senior executives at OPG on the heels of a report that the retrofit of a single reactor at the Pickering nuclear plant had come in significantly over budget and three years behind schedule. The government also accepted the resignation of all remaining Board members. Management underestimated the amount of work and complexity of the Unit 4 refurbishment project and failed to do a complete scope analysis before starting on the project. Due to the uproar over the large cost overruns and delays, an independent review committee was commissioned to examine the future role of OPG in the electricity sector; the future structure of OPG; the appropriate corporate governance and senior management structure; and the potential refurbishing of Pickering A Units 1, 2, and 3. Former federal Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister John Manley chaired the review committee. Peter Godsoe, Chairman of the Bank of Nova Scotia, and Jake Epp, a former federal Cabinet Minister, Chair of the Pickering A Review Panel, and interim Chairman of OPG, also sat on the committee.
The experience of refurbishing Pickering A Unit 1 was significantly different with a much tighter adherence to schedule and budget. Unit 1 was returned to service in November 2005 providing 542 MW of generating capacity for Ontario's electricity system. It was decided that Pickering Units 2 and 3 would not be restarted as the business case could not be made.
In early December 2015, Ontario's Auditor General pointed out that OPG was importing wood products from Europe to burn at the Thunder Bay station "pushing the cost of the electricity it generates to 25 times higher than other biomass generators", or $1,600 per MWh. Subsequently, Ontario's Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle stated that OPG was seeking a local company to produce the biomass fuel.
Considering the ever-increasing cost of electricity to Ontario consumers, the hiring of CEO Jeffrey Lyash in the summer of 2015 created some criticism when it was revealed that Lyash would earn $775,000 per annum and that could increase to $1.55 million with bonuses if performance targets are met.
OPG owns and operates generating plants that draw from nuclear, hydro-electric, combined gas, biomass, solar and some wind. In 2018, it generated about half of the electricity in Ontario or 74.0 terawatt hours (TWh).
|Source||Stations||Capacity (MW)||2015 output (TWh)|
Altogether there are 29 plants producing 127 MW of power.
Shut down or demolished
On 25 June 2019, Ontario Power announced the $1.12 billion purchase of Cube Hydro, which includes 19 hydroelectric power plants in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
The 1045-MW R. H. Saunders Generating Station, on the Saint Lawrence River
- OPG Annual Report, 2009
- Ontario Power Generation
- "Strengthening Ontario Energy Agency Board Governance Government Appoints New Chairs to Hydro One and OPG", Ministry of Energy news release, 7 March 2014. Accessed 1 May 2014
- "New and Returning Board Members for Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One", Ministry of Energy news release, 25 April 2014. Accessed 1 May 2014
- Ian Urquhart, "A successful turnaround at Ontario Power Generation", Guelph Mercury, 19 July 2006, A12.
- "Ontario Power Generation | Corporate Awards". www.opg.com. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "2016 Best 50 results | Corporate Knights". 7 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Canada's Top 100 Employers Competition".
- no by-line.--> (2015). "OPG - About Us". Ontario Power Generation. Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- "NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT". Ontario Power Generation. Ontario Power Generation Inc. 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Ministry of Energy » Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan". www.energy.gov.on.ca. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Ontario Moving Forward with Nuclear Refurbishment at Darlington and Pursuing Continued Operations at Pickering to 2024". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Atikokan Station Biomass Conversion Project". OPG. OPG. 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Atikokan Generating Station". OPG. OPG. 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Thunder Bay Generating Station". OPG. OPG. 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "IESO News Release". www.ieso.ca. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Ontario Power Generation | Generating Power". www.opg.com. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- The Globe and Mail
- Four more Ontario coal-fired generating units shut down, Toronto Star October, 1 2010
- Leslie, Keith (2 December 2015). "Ontario auditor finds hydro consumers pay billions extra for Liberal's decisions". CTV News. Bell Media. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- Ferguson, Ross (3 December 2015). "Ontario Liberals politically motivated in converting plant to biomass fuel, says PC leader". Toronto Star. Toronto Star. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- Ferguson, Rob (22 July 2015). "Ontario Power Generation's new CEO earning $775K". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- Jointly owned by Ontario Power Generation and Hydro-Québec
- "Ontario Power Generation to acquire Cube Hydro for $1.12 bln". Reuters. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ontario Power Generation.|
- Official website
- OPG 2015 Annual Report
- Images from the OPG Collection Niagara Falls Public Library (Ont.)
- Material related to power developments at Niagara Falls with an interactive map Niagara Falls Public Library (Ont.)
- OPG L&ILW Deep Geologic Repository website