Nova Scotia Power says one of the utility's coal-fired generators at the Lingan power plant in Cape Breton may be taken out of service as early as next year.

Neera Ritcey, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power, said the company must close some of its coal-fired plants to meet emission guidelines but the dates are not firm.

"The exact timing would depend on a number of factors. They would have to be done in a way that best fits the need of our customers, the needs of the overall electrical system," she said.

"We will have to factor in the additions in renewable generation, the impact on our overall workforce and all the regulatory requirements are in place."

According to Nova Scotia Power's website, the Lingan Generating Station is the company's largest station and produces 620 megawatts of electricity. There are four units producing that power — two of which operate on a seasonal basis.

In reports filed recently to the province's Utility and Review Board, Nova Scotia Power is suggesting a possible time frame for permanently shutting down the two generators that currently run seasonally — one by the end of 2014 and the other in 2019.

Ritcey said the utility has to shut down its coal-fired plants to meet emission guidelines.

"We've been in the process of transforming our fleet to lower our dependence on coal," she said.

"The equivalency agreement negotiated with the federal government does give us more flexibility for when the plants may have to be closed. But overall the goal is to meet the requirements when it comes to emission reductions."

Federal regulations require that six of Nova Scotia's eight coal-powered generators be eliminated by 2030.