Portlands Energy Centre

As part of Doors Open Toronto 2012, my friend Mike and I took a tour of the Portlands Energy Centre: a natural-gas-fired peaker power plant located slightly south and east of downtown Toronto.

This is a combined cycle plant with two gas turbines and a steam turbine. Together, they are about 60% efficient at turning the chemical energy in natural gas into electricity. The plant is a peaker, which means it can be started at reasonably short notice to add power to the grid when demand exceeds supply (summer air conditioning creates Toronto’s highest demand peaks).

The plant puts out 550 megawatts of electricity. The peak temperature inside the gas turbines is about 600˚C, and the output from the steam turbine is at about 80˚C (for all those Carnot efficiency fans out there). Neat fact: steam turbines work on the same principle as hurricanes.

I took about 200 photos inside, and I will be posting the best of them to Flickr once I have processed them.

[Update: 10:21pm] The first few shots are on Flickr: Portlands Energy Centre – Doors Open Toronto.

[Update: 2:25am] Done with all the RAW files. Post-processing takes a lot of time!

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

6 thoughts on “Portlands Energy Centre”

  1. The energy centre is a mighty machine. Having walked through it, I feel like I have a better sense of what ‘550 megawatts of electricity’ means in physical terms.

  2. Inside the Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto

    Posted by Lauren Souch / MAY 29, 2011

    The Portlands Energy Centre was a busy location at Doors Open yesterday despite the lack of public transit to the area. Upon arriving, visitors had to wait anywhere from five to 30 minutes to receive a basic safety orientation and some goofy-looking safety gear — including a helmet, goggles, neon vest, and earplugs — before beginning the tour.

  3. This tour sounds interesting. How did you find out about it? Do you know of how to find out about tours in the Vancouver area. I was thinking of taking a tour of the wind turbine on Grouse Mountain.

  4. If summer air conditioning creates peak demand in Toronto, solar power could be a good option.

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