Pumped hydro will benefit Ontario’s grid

Toronto-based Northland Power plans to construct a USD$700m pumped hydroelectric project using the enormous hole and mountain of tailings left by an abandoned open-pit iron ore mine. Water would be pumped up from the old mine working up into a newly constructed reservoir during periods of  cheap, night-time electricity.

When demand and prices go up, the company would release the water for a 258-metre plunge to a powerhouse and generate 400MW of power, creating a waterfall five times the height of Niagara Falls, though with a fraction of the volume. The facility will also be used to store excess wind power, which in Ontario is forecast to increase from today’s 1.7GW to 7.8GW by 2018.

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