Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Power seeks $110M for repairs at Wreck Cove hydro plant

Nova Scotia Power is requesting regulatory approval for a $110-million refurbishment of the Wreck Cove hydroelectric station in Cape Breton. The utility says the plant was built more than 40 years ago and needs major work to last another 40 years.

Power company says rebuilding is cheaper than shutting down and decommissioning at nearly $500M

Nova Scotia Power says its 40-year-old hydroelectric generation plant at Wreck Cove in Cape Breton needs $110 million in repairs to make it last another 40 years. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Nova Scotia Power is requesting regulatory approval for a $110-million refurbishment of the Wreck Cove hydroelectric station in Cape Breton.

In documents filed last week with the Utility and Review Board (UARB), Nova Scotia Power said its largest hydroelectricity operation was built more than 40 years ago and needs major work to last another 40 years.

The company declined comment while the issue is before the UARB.

In its filing, the utility said wind power is variable and coal is being phased out because of pollution.

It said the Wreck Cove hydro plant is critical to ensuring a steady power backup and in meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Generators, turbine parts need replacement

The company said the station's two generators need to be replaced and the majority of the turbine parts need to be refurbished.

That work will make up about 80 per cent of the project.

The remaining work — replacing breakers, switches and cooling gear, among other things — is expected to be done later in a second phase.

The power company said shutting the plant down and decommissioning it would amount to almost $500 million, making its $110-million repair plan the least costly option for consumers.

There is no indication yet how the project will affect power rates and no date has been set for a hearing.

Nova Scotia Power says shutting the plant down and decommissioning it would amount to almost $500 million, making its repair plan the least costly option for consumers. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Some of the details are redacted or have been submitted and held in confidence by the UARB.

Nova Scotia Power said in its application that was necessary to protect suppliers and to ensure competition when it comes time to hire contractors to do the work.

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About the Author

Tom Ayers

Reporter/Editor

Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years. He has spent the last 16 years covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at tom.ayers@cbc.ca.

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