The Portlands Energy Centre is a 550 megawatt natural gas power plant located on Unwin Avenue in the portlands. It is a combined cycle facility, which means that power is produced by two different types of generators. There are two natural gas turbines that burn natural gas to spin turbines, similar to jet engines, that spin the generators to produce electricity. The exhaust heat from this combustion is used to produce steam and spin a steam powered generator. This two stage generation is much more efficient than traditional steam generation.
The Portlands Energy Centre is capable of being started up and shut down on quickly to provide electricity during peak periods when demand is high, or when supply from other sources is low. The 550 megawatts produced are enough to power 100,000 homes. The facility was opened in 2006, and cost $730 million to build.
The nearby Hearn Generating Station was decommissioned in 1983 and produced 1200 megawatts from its 12 steam powered turbines. The massive building required 600 employees to operate. Compare that to the new Portlands Energy Centre that can produce half the energy, with only 3 turbines and 27 employees.
The site contains a garden and a colony of bees that are cared for by a beekeeper, which pollinate the surrounding area on the portlands and Leslie Spit.
Visitors were offered a rare opportunity to tour the facility at Doors Open Toronto.