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NB Power seeks environmental approval for Mactaquac project

By Brad Perry Jul 19, 2023 | 4:37 PM

Another milestone for NB Power and its Mactaquac generating station rehabilitation project.

The utility announced this week that it had applied to the province for environmental approval.

“This project represents our most significant investment in clean energy in more than 50 years,” president and CEO Lori Clark said in a news release.

“Maintaining this important generation asset will help enable New Brunswick to achieve a net-zero electricity system and support global efforts to tackle climate change.”

The dam, located west of Fredericton along the Saint John River, began operating in 1968 and has a 100-year lifespan.

However, it has been facing issues related to expanding concrete and aging infrastructure for several decades.

The rehabilitation project, dubbed the “Mactaquac Life Achievement Project” by NB Power, will include major repairs to concrete and replacement of equipment.

Work will also be done to enhance upstream and downstream fish passage for species native to the Saint John River.

“When complete, the station is expected to operate until at least 2068, its intended lifespan,” the utility said in its release.

Mactaquac has a generation capacity of 672 megawatts, supplying about 12 per cent of the province’s energy needs.

Pending approval of the environmental impact assessment, NB Power said construction should begin in 2024 and last up to 15 years.

But before that can happen, the project still requires financial approvals from NB Power’s board of directors and the provincial government.

The utility has said the refurbishment is expected to cost up to $3.6 billion.

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