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How run-of-the-river stations work during the spring freshet

May 1 2018, 13:41 PM

How run-of-the-river stations work during the spring freshet

NB Power’s hydro facilities are located along the Saint John River system. They are “run of river” facilities with very little storage capability. Storage is measured in hours, unlike larger facilities like Churchill Falls in Labrador which can store water for months. Water coming from upstream into the headponds must be used for generation at that moment, or must be allowed to bypass the dam. Put simply, the water that flows in must flow out.

The Mactaquac Generating Station at full load passes water through at 80,000 cubic feet per second. Any flow greater than that must pass through the spill gates. Currently, the Saint John River flows at Mactaquac are more than 300,000 cubic feet per second. As a result, water at Mactaquac is passing through the spillways. At high flows, above plant generating capacity, the water coming in must be released immediately to maintain the proper slope on the headpond to allow the river to flow downstream.

Essentially the river returns to its natural state during high flow events. In order to maintain the natural flow of the river and allow the water to pass the facilities safely, NB Power has very specific operating guidelines.

Water naturally runs downhill. Increased water flow requires there is adequate slope on the river or headpond to continue the natural flow of the river. In order to accomplish this, NB Power lowers the Mactaquac headpond level at the dam to maintain this slope, thus allowing the passage of natural river flow. When the river flow decreases, the headpond level will return to normal levels.

In the lower Saint John River Basin the Reversing Falls in Saint John creates a natural barrier in the river system that is essentially the narrow end of the funnel. With the current river flows being greater than 300,000 cubic feet per second, approximately only half of that water can pass through the falls at low tide. As a result, a bathtub effect is created in the lower basin whereby the water that is not able to pass through the falls backs up and cause flooding. This is compounded during sustained high flows like New Brunswick is currently experiencing.

Higher than average snow fall in North Western New Brunswick and Northern Maine coupled with rain events has resulted in these sustained high flows.

NB Power’s highly trained staff works closely with Riverwatch, the province’s Emergency Measures Organization and communities all along the river during these events.

NB Power is constantly observing and communicating river and station conditions with the goal of operating facilities with the least possible impact on the natural flow of the river while doing everything possible to keep its infrastructure and people safe.

               

Bathurst drive-in diner sees benefits and savings with lighting upgrades

April 19 2018, 11:42 AM

Bathurst drive-in diner sees benefits and savings with lighting upgrades

Running a small business isn’t easy.

If you own or run a small company in New Brunswick, you juggle dozens of responsibilities every single day. One of those is managing your operating costs.

We’re here to help. Through our Small Business Lighting Program, Bathurst’s Big D Drive-Ins Diner was able to upgrade their lighting and will save $1,400 annually.

With a $2,592 incentive from NB Power, Big D Drive-Ins invested $6,020 into lighting upgrades – replacing their incandescent, metal halide and T12 lights with more efficient LED ones. Their estimated monthly savings of $120 translates to around $1,400 annually.

“We are extremely happy with our results thanks to the Small Business Lighting Program. As New Brunswick’s only drive-in restaurant, it is very important for us to be well-lit, especially in the winter months,” said Richard Dobson, owner of Big D Drive-Ins Diner. “Our business is now more visible, for less cost.”

Businesses participating in the program will save money on their monthly electricity bill, and also get a rebate of $0.17 for every kilowatt hour saved up to $7,500.

Eligible businesses work with an approved service provider to identify the right changes for their building. That can include things like new light fixtures, bulbs and controls that will help reduce the amount of energy consumed. We will review the statement of work for your upgrades and then you have 120 days to complete them and submit your claim for the rebate payment.

Just like that, up to $7,500 in your pocket.

New and improved lighting will make your business better. Customers will have a better view of your business, greater visibility means increased safety and you will create an overall better work environment for your employees.

You’ll also continue to enjoy longer-term savings every month with lower electricity bills. What can you do to grow your business with these savings?

Plus, you’re doing your part for the environment. Cutting down on electricity consumption means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Who qualifies for the program? You’re in luck if you own, manage or lease a building in New Brunswick that is at least two years old and consumes less than 100 MWh/yr. You also must be an NB Power Service I or II customer (or the equivalent category with Saint John Energy, Edmundston Energy or Perth-Andover Light Commission.) And, your account has to be in good standing.

If you don’t qualify for the Small Building Lighting Program, check out our Commercial Building Retrofit Program for larger businesses and buildings in New Brunswick.

Want to learn more about our Small Business Lighting Program? Visit the program website, call us at 1-800-663-6272 (press 5) or email us at CEES-SEEC@nbpower.com.

Don't delay. Get started on saving with the Small Business Lighting Program.

 

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