Power company still leans toward scrubbers for Lingan plant
The decision to delay plans to install scrubbers at Nova Scotia Power's coal-fired Lingan power plant for further study does not mean the idea itself is dead, a spokeswoman for the utility said Tuesday.
On Monday, N.S. Power went before the province's Utility and Review Board. The utility was expected to push for the scrubber plan, but instead called for a year to look at other options, including renewables and increased energy conservation.
- FROM NOV. 16, 2005: NSP eyes cleaner, greener Lingan plant
A number of diverse groups are against the scrubber idea, including paper processors Stora Enso and Bowater Mersey, which believe a cheaper solution should be found, and the Ecology Action Centre, which is calling for a sounder ecological solution.
Utility spokeswoman Margaret Murphy said the company believes with time, these critics will alter their view.
"We think part of what they're missing is the bigger picture. They want [us] to step back and take a look at all the other things such as fuel switching (from coal to some other source, like natural gas), use of renewables, use of energy conservation," Murphy said.
"We think once they realize the extent to which we're already pulling those levers they'll realize that we really do need to look at the large power plants and reducing the emissions rate at the point source."
Lingan, located near New Waterford, in Cape Breton, is the largest plant of its type in the province, producing 600 megawatts of electricity by using more than 1.5 million tonnes of coal each year.
Late in 2005, the utility announced plans to add a desulphurization unit, known as a scrubber, to cut the sulphur dioxide emissions at its largest coal plant. The $175-million refit would reduce such emissions by 95 per cent.
Environment Canada says Lingan spews more than four million tonnes of carbon dioxide and other toxins into the air each year. And that's why ecologists are against the scrubber idea.
"Scrubbers reduce sulphur dioxide [but] they don't reduce other types of pollutants, and in fact increase other pollutants such as carbon dioxide," said Brendan Hayley, of Halifax's Ecology Action Centre.
"So we think it may be more cost effective to perhaps, if they are going to meet these sulphur dioxide regulations, why not also do it in a way that will reduce other types of pollution as well?"