Nanticoke Generating Station

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Nanticoke Generating Station
Nanticoke Generating Station 2.jpg
LocationNanticoke, Haldimand County, Ontario
Coordinates42°48′0″N 80°3′1″W / 42.80000°N 80.05028°W / 42.80000; -80.05028Coordinates: 42°48′0″N 80°3′1″W / 42.80000°N 80.05028°W / 42.80000; -80.05028
Construction began1967 (1967)
Commission date1972–1978
Decommission date2013 (2013)
Owner(s)Ontario Power Generation
Operator(s)Ontario Power Generation
Thermal power station
Primary fuelSub-bituminous coal
Turbine technologySteam turbine
Cooling sourceLake Erie
Power generation
Units decommissioned8 × 500 MW
Nameplate capacity3964 MW (8 units)
1880 MW (4 units)[1]
Capacity factor69% (peak)
Annual net output24,000 GWh (peak)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

The Nanticoke Generating Station was a coal-fired power station in Nanticoke, Ontario in operation from 1972 to 2013. It was the largest coal power station in North America and, at full capacity, it could provide 3,964 MW of power into the southern Ontario power grid from its base in Nanticoke, Ontario, Canada,[2] and provided as much as 15% of Ontario's electricity.

It was decommissioned in 2013 as part of the Government of Ontario's commitment to eliminate coal power.[3] A 44 MW photovoltaic power station, the Nanticoke Solar Facility, was built on the site and entered service in 2019.[4][5][6]

Prior to the commencement of decommissioning, Nanticoke was one of Canada's top ten single sources of greenhouse gases.[7]


The Nanticoke Generating Station was built on the site of the "Battle of Nanticoke", where in 1813 the Norfolk volunteer militia routed a band of American marauders who had been pillaging area farms and terrorizing the country, an exploit that inspired the British military forces and the people of Upper Canada during the War of 1812. The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924.[8]

Ontario Hydro revealed plans to build a 4,000 MW fossil-fuel generating station near Long Point, Ontario in 1967.[9] Its current site was selected in Nanticoke, Ontario, because of the nearby harbour, the proximity of United States coal supplies, and proximity to much of Ontario's population.[9] The construction of the plant cost CAN$800 million and operations started in 1972.[1] Eight pulverized coal-fired steam generators were built in phases between 1973 and 1978.[9]

By 1981, the plant was consuming 35,000 tonnes of coal per day. Over the years, another $900 million has been invested in making the plant more energy efficient, robust, and improving its emissions.[1]

Plant operations[edit]

Power generation and distribution[edit]

At full capacity (4000 MW) with all eight generating units functioning, the station's annual electricity production had been as high as 24 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), enough electricity to run nearly 2.5 million households.[1] Although the plant houses eight generating units, four of those units have since been retired.[1] (Two were retired in 2010, and two were retired in 2011.[10]) The remaining four units are not in operation.[11]

Previously, power generation at this plant was on a stand-by basis, only operating during peak levels of energy consumption, or when other generating facilities are unavailable. At other times the plant would remain idle.[1] When demand for electricity was high, the remaining four active generating units were put into service, with the maximum potential to produce approximately 5% of Ontario's total generating capacity. (1880 MW[1] out of the 34,079 MW of existing power generation in the province as of January 2012.[10]) The plant is connected to the power grid by numerous 230,000- and 500,000-volt transmission lines.[12]

Cooling water for the plant was drawn from Lake Erie using two pipes that are 6.5 m in diameter, stretch 550 m offshore, and sit 10 m below the surface.[13] The plant had two multi-flue smokestacks which were both 198 m (650 ft) tall.[14][15] A dock on the shore of the site allows ships to deliver coal to an on-site stock pile, which can hold up to 4.5 megatonnes.

At its peak, Nanticoke employed approximately 634 staff from the Haldimand—Norfolk area.[1][16][17]


The Nanticoke station used to be one of Canada's largest greenhouse gas emitters and polluters.[18] In 2001, it was the largest single source of greenhouse gases according to Environment Canada.[19] Due to major reductions in output since 2009, it was eventually surpassed by facilities in Alberta.[20][21]

Greenhouse Gases (2013)[22]
Greenhouse gas Amount (tonnes) Carbon dioxide equivalent*
CO2 1,530,237 1,530,237
CH4 24.80 620
N2O 27.30 8,135
Total - 1,538,992
*Calculated figures for CO2e are rounded to the nearest tonne.
Total emissions, 2004-2014[22]
Year Emissions (tonnes CO2e)
2004 14,715,952
2005 17,629,437
2006 16,271,466
2007 17,887,649
2008 15,427,913
2009 6,037,137
2010 8,601,215
2011 2,836,299
2012 2,021,667
2013 1,538,992
2014 0*
* Facility shut down in 2013


The Government of Ontario had originally targeted to phase out all of its coal plants by 2009, but abandoned this target in 2006 to the ire of organizations representing nurses and physicians, community groups and environment groups.[23] The province could not replace Nanticoke's energy output by the deadline, despite Units 3 and 4 at Bruce "A" being brought back online between 2003 and 2004.[24][circular reference] The province was examining replacing this output using nuclear power by refurbishing its existing fleet, and building two additional reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Bruce Power, Canada's only private nuclear power company, also proposed building two reactors on former Stelco lands in Nanticoke. However, this was met with immediate opposition and dismissal from the government. "It's a speculative move on the part of a private company...It doesn't enjoy the support, encouragement [or] approval...of the Government of Ontario," stated George Smitherman, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.[25] Bruce Power did however move ahead with the refurbishment of "A" Units 1 and 2 in 2005[24][circular reference] and Ontario Power Generation commenced refurbishment of Darlington in 2016.[26]

Two units at Nanticoke were shut down in fall 2010.[27] Another two were shut down in 2011.[28] The final four were shut down on December 31, 2013.[29] This was made possible, in part, by the reactivation of Units 1 and 2 at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station the previous year.[30] In July 2015, Ontario Power Generation announced it will no longer "preserve and staff Nanticoke", and the expectation is that the plant will be permanently decommissioned.[31] Its two smokestacks were imploded using controlled demolition on February 28, 2018.[32] The last sections were demolished on August 22, 2019.[5][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Nanticoke Generating Station". Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Weather and Ontario's Electricity System" (PDF). Independent Electricity System Operator. July 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Thermal power". Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  4. ^ Morley, Liisa. "Nanticoke Solar Project Completed on Budget and on Schedule". PCL Constructors. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  5. ^ a b Foreman, Gideon (July 19, 2019). "Industry and nature make peace at former home of North America's largest coal plant". David Suzuki Foundation. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  6. ^ "Former coal-fired power plant in Ontario becomes solar facility". 1 April 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  7. ^ "GHG Facility Table 2009". Environment Canada. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  8. ^ Nanticoke National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
  9. ^ a b c Wiancko 1981, p. 96
  10. ^ a b "Supply Overview". Archived from the original on 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  11. ^ "Nanticoke Generating Station". Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2012-06-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^[bare URL PDF]
  14. ^ "Drawings of Nanticoke Generating Station Units 1-4". Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  15. ^ "Drawings of Nanticoke Generating Station Units 5-8". Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  16. ^ "Jobs - CHCH". June 3, 2011.
  17. ^ "Ontario Power Generation | Reflecting on Nanticoke Generating Station's legacy". Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  18. ^[dead link]
  19. ^ "Nanticoke Facility Worst Single Source of Greenhouse Gases, Study Finds - CityNews". Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  20. ^ "Erreur HTTP 404 - non trouvé".
  21. ^ "GHG Facility Table 2010". Environment Canada. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Facility and GHG Information - Nanticoke Generating Station". Environment Canada. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  23. ^ Ecojustice (11 October 2006). "Ontario abandons coal phase-out, guts smog and climate change plans". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  24. ^ a b Bruce Nuclear Generating Station
  25. ^ CBC News (1 November 2008). "Ont. government signals opposition to Bruce Power nuclear reactors". CBC. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  26. ^ "Our projects > Darlington Refurbishment".
  27. ^ Talaga, Tanya (3 September 2009). "Ontario shuts 4 coal-fired units". The Star. Toronto.
  28. ^ "Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan" (PDF). Government of Ontario. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  29. ^ "OPG'S NANTICOKE STATION STOPS BURNING COAL" (PDF). Ontario Power Generation. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  30. ^ "BPRIA backgrounder". 2015-12-03.
  31. ^ "Simcoe Reformer". Archived from the original on 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  32. ^ Craggs, Samantha (28 February 2018). "Watch as OPG demolishes 2 huge smokestacks at the Nanticoke generating station". CBC Hamiltion. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Nanticoke powerhouse safely demolished". 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.