Nova Scotia Power to shut down 1 coal generator at Lingan station this fall

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Nova Scotia Power’s coal-fired station at Lingan shrouded in smoke and fog April 7, 2022. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)
Nova Scotia Power’s coal-fired station at Lingan shrouded in smoke and fog April 7, 2022. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia Power will begin closing one of their coal units at the Lingan generating station in October — eight months after their original deadline of Jan. 1 — as the so-called "Nova Scotia Block" of hydroelectricity from Muskrat Falls comes online.

Of the four operational coal units at Cape Breton's Lingan station, one will be placed into cold reserve beginning this fall.

Cold reserve means a unit will not be running, but it could be brought back online if required.

In an email, NSP said it will cost approximately $1 million to do the work required during a scheduled outage from Oct. 7 to Nov. 1, 2022. NSP declined an interview but did provide details in an email.

The work includes inspections and refurbishments to preserve the equipment for safe operation in the event the unit is recalled, as well as testing, cleaning and repairs to the steam turbine and auxiliary systems.

Nova Scotia Power said in a statement there will be no jobs lost due to the unit going out of service. Employees will be transitioned into different roles.

Tom Ayers/CBC
Tom Ayers/CBC

Delayed timeline

Nova Scotia Power has eight coal-fired generating units at four plants across the province that employ 350 people.

The move away from coal power depends on the arrival of renewable energy sources from Muskrat Falls.

In the past year, NSP has delayed the closing of some units due to a lack of sufficient green energy to replace them.

In Feb. 2021, the provincial government announced a new renewable energy goal, with 80 per cent of Nova Scotia's energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. The province's carbon emissions must also be reduced to 53 per cent of 2005 levels.

The utility said in a statement they have reduced their carbon emissions by 43 per cent below 2005 levels to date and continue to maximize control measures at their facilities to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The first of Lingan's coal generators were supposed to be retired in January — one of many missed dates for delivery of Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity via the Maritime Link.

CBC
CBC

The Maritime Link allows electricity to flow from the Muskrat Falls hydro dam in Labrador into Newfoundland, then across the Cabot Strait into Nova Scotia. This portion is known as the Nova Scotia Block.

"The arrival of the NS Block of Energy from Muskrat Falls represents an important step in our transition off coal and providing cleaner, reliable energy to our customers," NSP said in an email.

In the case of an emergency, the utility said they will be able to bring a unit back into service if additional capacity is required.

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