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Nova Scotia Power to Shut Down 1 Coal Generator at Lingan Generating Station This Fall

Nova Scotia Power will begin shutting down one of its coal-fired plants at Lingan Generating Station in October – eight months after the original January 1 deadline – as the so-called ‘Nova Scotia block’ of hydropower of Muskrat Falls will be posted online.

Of the four coal units operational at the Lingan plant in Cape Breton, one will be placed in cold reserve starting this fall.

Cold reserve means that a unit will not operate, but can be brought back online if needed.

In an email, NSP said it would cost approximately $1 million to complete the required work during a scheduled outage from October 7 to November 1, 2022. NSP declined an interview but provided details in a E-mail.

Work includes inspections and refurbishments to preserve equipment for safe operation in the event of a unit recall, as well as testing, cleaning and repairs to the steam turbine and auxiliary systems.

Nova Scotia Power said in a statement that there would be no job losses due to the unit being decommissioned. Employees will be moved into different roles.

Reducing coal-fired electricity generation in Nova Scotia is part of a provincial plan to create 80% of Nova Scotia’s energy from renewable sources by 2030. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Delayed timeline

Nova Scotia Power has eight coal-fired generator sets at four plants in the province that employ 350 people.

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

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

In February 2021, the provincial government announced a new renewable energy target, with 80% of Nova Scotia’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. The province’s carbon emissions must also be reduced to 53% of 2005 levels.

The utility said in a statement that it has reduced carbon emissions by 43% from 2005 levels to date and continues to maximize controls at its facilities to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The first of Lingan’s coal-fired generators was scheduled to be taken out of service in January – one of many missed dates for the delivery of hydroelectricity from Muskrat Falls via the Maritime Link.

The Atlantic Loop would extend power grid connections between Quebec and New Brunswick and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to provide greater access to renewable electricity. (Radio Canada)

The maritime link allows electricity to flow from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador to Newfoundland, then through the Cabot Strait to Nova Scotia. This part is known as the Nova Scotia Block.

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

In the event of an emergency, the utility said it would be able to return a unit to service if additional capacity is needed.