Sir Adam Beck Station #2

Sir Adam Beck Power Station #2 was located just south of Beck Power Station #1 and would require three times the water the first station required. It consists of 16 generators, which are totally enclosed and water cooled. Each generator has non-continuous amortisseur windings and is equipped with directly connected exciters and with static voltage regulators. Each unit is running at 60 cycle is capable of producing 80,000 kVA for a total capacity of 130,000 kVA.


  • Generators: Units 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 went into service in 1954.
  • Generators: Units 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 went into service in 1955.
  • Generators: Units 23 and 24 went into service in 1957.
  • Generators: Units 25 and 26 went into service in 1958.


Sir Adam Beck #2 Power Station is 266.7 metres long. It has 16 concrete encased steel penstocks. Each is 150 metres long and 5 metres in diameter, with a vertical drop of 89 metres. At the head of each penstock are trash racks and two motor operated steel gates. In an emergency, these gates can be closed by remote. These gates serve to control the flow of water into the penstocks since no valves are installed at the base of the penstocks like they are at Beck #1.

Water to the Sir Adam Beck Power Station #2 is provided by twin intake tunnels. The intakes are located in the Niagara River at Chippawa.

Water was diverted from the upper Niagara River at Chippawa by intakes that are square tubes and are oriented parallel to the Niagara River. Similar in shape to a triangle, they vary in area from 6 square metres at the upriver end to 14 square metres at the downriver end. Each 200 metres long tube has 30 intake ports. Piers separating these ports channel intake flow along the tubes.

The 13.7 square metre sections leading each of the gathering tubes turn shoreward 30 degrees, at which point they lead to the control gates.

The control gates; one for each tunnel, are 18 metres high and 14 metres wide. Beyond the gates, the square tubes change to circular tubes.

Covered conduits, 113 metres long and 14 metres in diameter, lead to the tunnels which are of the same diameter. Each tunnel was located 76 metres apart.

The tunnels slope at a steep downward degree angle until they are approximately 100 metres below ground level at access shaft No.5. The tunnels gently rise for nearly 8 kilometres and end at an open cut canal. This is located just south of Whirlpool Road where the tunnels surface at a 30 degree angle.

The tunnels would have been too hazardous and expensive to continue as they passed through the glacial silt of the buried St. David’s Gorge. To avoid this, the water is channelled through a 670.5 metre long concrete lined trapezoidal section of the canal as it crossed the buried gorge.

The remaining 3.6 kilometre distance is travelled through an open cut channel to the Sir Adam Beck Power Station #2 forebay. The average width of this canal is 60 metres wide. Water flows at a rate of 2.1 to 2.4 metres per second and has a depth of 8.5metres. As the water enters the forebay the flow of the water is reduced to .9 metres per second.

Excavation for both tunnels was carried out from five shafts located between them. The tunnels have a finished diameter of 13.7 metres. The concrete tunnel lining is about 1 metres thick.

The contractors for the tunnel were Rayner-Atlas Limited and Perini-Walsh, and Pitts & Associates. The estimated cost at the time of construction in 1951 was about $157 million.

In 1956, Ontario Hydro completed construction of the 750 acre above ground water reservoir. The rock and debris quarried from the hydro canal cut was used to build the walls of this giant reservoir, which measured approximately 3.2 kilometres long and 0.8 kilometres wide. The walls measured 45.7 to 60 metres wide at the base. At the western end of the reservoir, the walls were 18.3 to 24.4 metres in height. At the eastern end of the reservoir the walls were 12.2 to 15.2 metres in height. The inner base and inside of the walls were compacted with a special clay so when the reservoir was filled the clay sealed the walls preventing any significant leakage.

Water is pumped into the reservoir at night by use of 6 to 30 megawatt pumping/generating units. The six electric pumps which did this also doubled as generators. During the day, when water flow is increase to the Falls, water is released from the reservoir to compensate for this. As the water is released from the reservoir the pumps turn into generators to produce electricity as well. Each unit has an output of 47,000 horsepower at a maximum discharge of 5,600 cubic feet per second.

To ensure year round water supply would not be choked off by ice, Ontario Hydro walled off 14 acres of the upper Niagara River at the water intakes and extended two 152 metre long tubes out into the water. Each tube is capable of supplying water to the tunnels at a rate of 28.4 million litres per minute. Combined, the two tunnels could supply 56.78 million litres of water per minute to the Sir Adam Beck #2 Generating Station.

By March 1954, The Sir Adam Beck – Niagara Generating Station began hydro-electric power generation. When it originally opened, it was the worlds largest. The sixteen generators are housed in a building almost twice as long as plant #1 and have a capacity of 1,223,600 kilowatts.

Each generator is 15 metres in height and rotates at 150 revolutions per minute. The revolving parts weigh 500,000 kilograms.

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