Mactaquac and the New Brunswick power grid
March 22 2016, 14:47 PM
We have a big decision to make about the future of the Mactaquac Generating Station. The station is nearing the end of its life, and NB Power is considering what to do next. Whatever is decided will have a big impact on the environment and the people who live and work near the station. That’s why NB Power is working with experts and the public to find out what those impacts might be, and how to lessen them. NB Power will recommend a path forward in 2016. In this week’s blog post, we’ll take you through how Mactaquac fits into New Brunswick’s energy mix and why this decision is so important.
Why was Mactaquac built in the first place?
Mactaquac was built between 1965 and 1968. At the time, the Mactaquac Generating Station was the largest single engineering project in the history of New Brunswick. The project promised more energy on the grid, more jobs through increased productivity of businesses and more outdoor recreational area around the newly created headpond. When it was built, the station was expected to last 100 years.
How important is Mactaquac for the New Brunswick grid?
The Mactaquac Generating Station can produce approximately 670 megawatts of electricity for New Brunswick homes and businesses, which is about 12 % of all the electricity NB Power provides annually. For NB Power, Mactaquac is more than a generating station. It delivers essential services that support a safe, reliable and diverse power grid. In the unlikely event of all stations going offline, Mactaquac’s generators can deliver enough power to kick-start the grid. The headpond also acts as a reserve in case NB Power needs extra load to meet peak demands. NB Power’s 7 hydro stations that over the course of a year generate renewable energy that equates to about 25 % of what is consumed in New Brunswick.
Why did NB Power choose these three options as they are?
The station’s anticipated end of service life is around 2030. NB Power is looking at 3 options: repower, retaining the headpond (no power) and river restoration. These options were chosen for consideration because they are considered technically achievable, and they provide a long-term solution to problems facing the current station. While the options are being studied, NB Power continues to investigate whether new strategies can be adopted to prolong the station’s life and at what cost.
Why don’t you just repower?
As a public utility, NB Power understands that any course of action regarding Mactaquac had far-reaching consequences for all New Brunswickers. There are cost, environmental, social, and engineering impacts to be considered. This is why NB Power is consulting with the public and experts on the choices ahead.
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