NB Power plans to close Dalhousie power plant

Having failed to find a way to keep the plant open, NB Power said Sept. 27 that the Dalhousie generating facility in the Province of New Brunswick will be permanently closed.

NB Power said it had finished a two-year review that included an assessment of potential alternative fuel sources and a search for expressions of interest from new operators.

Dalhousie is a roughly 300-MW plant that was previously fueled by orimulsion – a bitumen-based fuel developed by a state-owned company in Venezuela. The Venezuela company scaled back production a few years ago.

A full environmental impact assessment will be conducted before NB Power begins to decommission the site. During decommissioning, which is expected to take about four years, NB Power will continue to pay full property taxes to the town of Dalhousie. The remaining 25 staff members will continue to work on-site during the decommissioning period and will gradually be reassigned within NB Power as this work is completed.

“The results of our two-year review concluded that the continued operation of the Dalhousie Generating Station is no longer economically viable,” said NB Power President and CEO Gaëtan Thomas. “NB Power’s mandate to provide reliable and cost effective electricity makes the closure of the Dalhousie Generating Station a necessity, and I am pleased that we have been able to do so with the least possible impact on our employees.”

Meanwhile, NB Power continues to work to complete the long-running refurbishment project at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant. NB Power said Sept. 24 that it had conducted tests of the turbines and generator at 14% of full power.

NB Power said it remains on track to restart the 660-MW nuclear plant this fall.

The reactor is currently in guaranteed shutdown state (GSS) for a planned shutdown to remove specialized equipment used to start up reactors with new fuel as part of the testing and commissioning process.

NB Power requires one further approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) prior to increasing reactor power above 35%. The CNSC will continue to provide oversight in the form of on-site inspections and technical reviews of the remaining testing and commissioning activities.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.