NB Power to hold open houses about Mactaquac replacement

NB Power has announced a second series of open house meetings about the future of the Mactaquac generating station.

Utility looking at fourth option to delay deterioration of concrete beyond 2030

NB Power president Gaëtan Thomas announced Monday the utility will hold five open houses in the Fredericton -to-Woodstock region in October about the Mactaquac Dam project. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

NB Power has announced a second series of open house meetings about the future of the Mactaquac generating station.

The deteriorating structure has to be replaced or removed by 2030 and NB Power is now studying which of three options it should pursue.

  • Replace the spillway and powerhouse and continue to generate electricity.
  • Replace the spillway, but not the powerhouse, meaning the facility would no longer generate electricity.
  • Remove the dam entirely, restoring the St. John River to its natural state.

No matter which option is followed, the cost will be at least $2 billion and NB Power has indicated previously that costs could be as high as $5 billion, depending on the option chosen.

The cost of the project will be paid by rate payers over time.

"We have a big decision to make and there is a lot to consider," said NB Power president Gaëtan Thomas.

On Monday, NB Power announced another series of open house meetings for New Brunswickers to learn more about the options.

  • Oct. 13, Riverside Resort, 35 Mactaquac Road in French Village, from 3-8 p.m.
  • Oct. 15, Nackawic Lions Club Community Centre, 134 Otis Drive, Nackawic, 3-8 p.m.
  • Oct. 20, Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Road, Fredericton, 3-8 p.m.
  • Oct. 21, St. Thomas University, 51 Dineen Drive, Fredericton, Foyer of Kinsella Auditorium, 12-3.
  • Oct. 22. Best Western Hotel, 123 Gallop Court, Woodstock, 3-8 p.m.

The dam is expected to reach the end of its service life by 2030 because the concrete structures are expanding through a chemicial reaction.

In addition to the three options being studied, NB Power now says it is "examining the potential for an onsite solution to the concrete problem that may extend the life of the station beyond 2030."

The feasibility of that option has yet to be determined.

The dam opened in 1968 with an expected life of 100 years. It has the capacity to generate 670 megawatts of energy with its six turbines. Mactaquac supplies about 12 per cent of New Brunswick's electricity needs.

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