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May 08 www.bus-ex.com 47 Prior to 1999, Ontario Power Generation’s predecessor company, Ontario Hydro, had been a vertically integrated public utility, providing most of the power generation and transmission in the province and some distribution. In 1999 there was a fundamental restructuring of Ontario’s electricity sector: generation was separated from transmission, becoming Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and transmission became Hydro One. A number of smaller entities were also created: Ontario Power Authority was given the task of anticipating the province’s long-term energy needs, and an Independent Electricity System Operator would deal with short-term electricity needs. OPG was made a private-sector commercial entity, under the Business Corporation Act, with the Ontario government being the sole shareholder. Within OPG are three generating divisions: hydro, nuclear, and fossil (coal, oil, and natural gas). John Murphy, executive vice president of the Hydro Division, is responsible for the safe and environmentally prudent operation of the 64 hydroelectric generating stations spread throughout the province, which includes more than 230 river control structures (such as dams). “My job is also to get the maximum possible revenue from these assets,” he says. “Some run continuously, year round, while the operation of others varies from hour to hour depending on water conditions, including rain and ice melt. Our focus has been on extracting more megawatts from these assets, since there’s no better value proposition.” For the last several years his Hydro Division has been upgrading facilities with the latest technology, such as new turbines. Actually, since the upgrade program went into high gear in 1992, Hydro has added more than 425 megawatts (enough to power over 100,000 homes every year). Hydroelectricity is currently providing about onequarter of the province’s electricity needs. The Niagara Tunnel Project will enable OPG to bring more water from the powerful Niagara River to its Beck generating stations (named for Sir Adam Beck, the first chairman of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, established in 1906). OPG contracted with STRABAG AG (based in Vienna, Austria) to excavate a 10.4-kilometer (6.46-mile) tunnel under the City of Niagara Falls, 14.4 meters (47.4 feet) in diameter, 140 meters (460 feet) below the city, using the largest hard- OntarioPowerGeneration