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Ontario's "Big Becky" Drills To Prosperity

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Ontario's "Big Becky" Drills To Prosperity

Niagara Tunnel Project To Boost Energy Supply, Jobs And Opportunity

Office of the Premier

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty helped unveil "Big Becky," the 2,000-ton machine that will dig a tunnel at the Sir Adam Beck Generating Complex. The tunnel will boost capacity at the plant and increase the province's supply of clean energy.

"A clean, reliable and sustainable energy supply is key to our economic growth -- our very way of life," said Premier McGuinty. "By creating the Niagara Tunnel, we're increasing our province's power supply, strengthening our prosperity and building opportunity for Ontario families."

Work on the tunnel is scheduled to start soon with the help of "Big Becky," the largest hard-rock tunnel boring machine ever built. Children from Port Weller Public School in St. Catharines won a contest to name the machine in May.

The machine will bore a 10.4-kilometre tunnel at a depth of up to 140 meters below the City of Niagara Falls, connecting with the Niagara River at Queenston. The tunnel is expected to be completed by 2009, increasing electricity output at the complex by 14 per cent.

"This project is an important investment for the people of Ontario," said Energy Minister Dwight Duncan. "It is one more step in our government's plan to bring more clean, renewable sources of electricity online."

The government is investing $985 million in the new tunnel, which will supply more water from Niagara Falls to the Sir Adam Beck Generating Complex. The project will generate an additional 1.6 billion kilowatt hours of clean, reliable power -- enough to meet the needs of 160,000 homes every year.

The project will create about 230 full-time construction jobs, which could rise to 350 jobs at times over the next three years.

Boosting the province's supply of clean and reliable power is just one of the ways the McGuinty government is working on the side of Ontario families. Other initiatives include:

  • Adding 3,000 megawatts of supply and putting the wheels in motion for almost 11,000 megawatts of new electricity -- more than any other place in North America and enough to power about 5 million homes
  • Securing 5 per cent of our capacity from new renewable sources by 2007 and 10 per cent by 2010, putting Ontario at the forefront in North America
  • Bringing in the Energy Conservation Responsibility Act -- the first law of its kind in Canada.

"Our government is committed to building a culture of conservation and doing what needs to be done to bring more clean, renewable power to homes across our province," said Premier McGuinty. "Building this tunnel will continue to serve Ontario families for generations to come."



Environment and Energy Jobs and Employment