Page 5 of brocku has a history of the power stations. Of note, this plant started in 1898. That was just 10 years after Telsa invented his "polyphase alternating current system," and just 2 years after power was transmitted 19 miles from Niagara Falls to Buffalo.
|Garett Perry posted
DECEW FALLS GENERATING STATION, c.1911
Power Glen Built: 1897-1998/ 1904-1905.
Builder; Messrs,Angus Mc Donald & Company. (Thorold) (1898)
Referred to as “The Cradle of Canadian Hydro Electric Industry” , the plant at DECEW made history in 1898 when it began the long-distance transmission of electricity to Hamilton, 56.3 km (35 miles away).It was built by Messrs, Angus McDonald of Thorold and was once considered the most economical plant on the continent. Additional generating units were put into service in 1900,1905,1908, and 1912 ( by then, the building housing the Power House had been enlarged twice, one of those enlargements is underway in the photo). In October 1943, a new power plant opened just to the east. The plant continues to generate power as of the Ontario Power Generation System.
Andrew Lowry: I visit that station every other year and some of the machines from the 1900s are still running in their original scroll cases.
Dave Trumble shared
|Dennis DeBruler commented on Dave's share
This is making good use of the change in elevation caused by the Niagara Escarpment. Note the flight of three locks for the Welland Canal that is East and a little North of here. https://maps.app.goo.gl/9EUbeW5mqUDzJ1ZM9
I recognize the location of this "hill" as the Niagara Escarpment that the four Welland Canals had to scale with multiple locks. The first two canals went up the side of the escarpment. The fourth goes straight up it with some big locks.
This is another example of streetcars being a technology driver of electric power.
|Alex Luyckx Flickr
DeCew Generating Station
[The penstocks for the old plant are near the right edge of the photo. The two for the new plant are in the middle.]
Built in 1898, the Decew Falls plant was originally built by the Cataract Power Company of Hamilton, Ontario. It was originally built to provide power to the electric street railway in Hamilton – in those days many power developments in Niagara were intended for specific power markets – 34 miles away by transmission at 22,500 Volts (three-phase). Both the use of high voltage to transmit power that distance, as well as the use of three-phase and the relatively high frequency, are unique features of this installation. The plant was acquired by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission (now OPG) in 1930 and continues to generate power for the province on Ontario. The plant itself was expanded several times with a second station added in 1943 to help supply power for the war effort.
|x y, Nov 2020, cropped
This is a reminder that early units had a horizontal axis because thrust bearings had yet to be invented.
|6:08 video @ 0:59 (source
"This station transmitted power at 22,500 Volts, 66 2/3 Hz, two-phase, more than double any previously used voltage." [ethw] (Some sources specify 3-phase. Others agree with 2-phase. But some sources obviously copy&paste from other sources, so "voting" doesn't work to resolve the conflict.)
|markcsele, this webpage has a detailed history and many photos
This is one of the two 72mw units in the 1943 plant. It runs with a shaft speed of 171.4rpm.
Of particular note, all of the penstocks for the #1 plant were replaced in the 21st Century.
GuideTags also has this photo, but the caption of "DeCew Falls Generating Station No. 2 - 1943," is wrong. The description is of the 1943 plant, but this photo is of the early 1900s plant with its phase 2 expansion.
The 1943 plant is the concrete box that we see on the left side of the photo below. The brick building in the middle is the end of the early 1900s plant that is the opposite of what we see in the above photo.
|Jade W (Jade), May 2023
This webpage has more photos and describes the importance of electricity allowing the separation of water power from a mill's location.