PEI

Charlottetown smoke stacks to be torn down

Maritime Electric has set out a timeline for decommissioning one of its electrical generating stations on the Charlottetown waterfront. As a result, two large smokestacks which loom over the city will eventually be torn down.

'That will change the skyline of Charlottetown quite significantly,' says Maritime Electric CAO

Maritime Electric says it will file a plan with IRAC next year which will include the decommissioning of its thermal generating station in Charlottetown — including these two smokestacks which loom over the city's waterfront area. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Maritime Electric has set out a timeline for decommissioning one of its electrical generating stations on the Charlottetown waterfront. As a result, two large smokestacks which loom over the city will eventually be torn down.

"That will change the skyline of Charlottetown quite significantly," said Maritime Electric CAO John Gaudet. "There's really no need for those stacks going forward."

Gaudet said once two new underwater cables connecting P.E.I.'s electrical grid to the mainland are operational "and all the potential bugs are ironed out," the utility will begin planning for the decommissioning of its thermal electric generating station in Charlottetown.

He said the plan will be filed with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission next year, and should require about five years to complete, costing the company millions of dollars.

The process of decommissioning the smoke stacks will begin when two new underwater cables connecting P.E.I.'s electrical grid to the mainland are fully operational. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

May come down brick-by-brick

"We're going to the demolition experts to find out what's the most cost-effective, safest way" to remove the stacks, said Gaudet.

The tallest of the stacks is almost 70 metres tall. The smaller is 60 metres.

"You can't knock them over and let them fall.… We're going to be looking at either removing them brick-by-brick, or [demolishing them and letting] the bricks fall into the stack."

5 pre-1969 steam generators

According to a report from the P.E.I. Energy Commission, the thermal generating station was the province's primary source of electricity before the existing cables to New Brunswick were completed in 1977.

After that, the station was used as a back-up for times when the cables couldn't handle P.E.I.'s required electrical load.

Removing the smoke stacks will change the look of the Charlottetown waterfront. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

The station is made up of five pre-1969 steam generators, fueled by bunker oil.

Maritime Electric will continue to operate a second, newer generating station at the same location — a diesel-fuelled turbine generator installed in 2005.

'It's a reflection of the city'

MLA for Charlottetown - Victoria Park Richard Brown said getting rid of the smokestacks will be a big improvement for the area.

"That's one of the first things you see on the waterfront and it's a reflection of the city," he said. "So when those stacks are down and the plant is decommissioned, we'll have, truly, waterfront from one end of the city to the other."

Brown said he hoped some of Maritime Electric's current property at the site will eventually be turned into a park and green space, according to the city's waterfront plan.

However, Maritime Electric said it will still require all the property at the location, so while the look of the site will change, the company's footprint on the waterfront will not.