NB Power is inviting the public to a series of community-based dialogue sessions about the future of Mactaquac Generating Station, and encouraging informed dialogue with a new discussion paper focused on policy and technical considerations related to the decision.
The sessions will promote full participation by attendees and will require participants to contribute their time and thought to a community discussion. NB Power will host the sessions in May. They are the next step in a public discussion launched last fall with two draft reports, open houses and an online survey.
In response to public requests for greater opportunities for feedback, the deadline for public input has also been extended to May 31st.
“We understand that any course of action regarding Mactaquac has deep and far-reaching consequences for all New Brunswickers,” said NB Power president and CEO Gaëtan Thomas. “I thank every single person who has taken the time to contribute to this conversation in person, in writing and online, and I encourage you to continue sharing with us. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of New Brunswickers and others who have shared their stories, insights and concerns about this project. Your feedback is an essential part of the process and will inform our recommendation later this year.”
The Mactaquac Generating Station is expected to reach the end of its service life by 2030, because of expansion problems with its concrete structures. NB Power has identified three possible end-of-life options for the station, including building a new generating station, removing all structures to allow the river to return to a natural flow, or leaving the dam in place but without power generation.
In addition, NB Power is continuing to examine the potential for solutions to the concrete problem that may extend the life of the station beyond 2030, perhaps even to its intended lifespan. In late 2016, NB Power will recommend a future path for the station.
Since 2014, scientists, engineers and other experts have been studying the potential impacts of the three end-of-life options on people and the environment, including First Nations. Much of this work has been captured in two reports: a Comparative Environmental Review (CER) Report and a Social Impact Comparative Review report, which are both available online in draft form for public comment.
The latest discussion paper, Considering the Future of Mactaquac, examines the potential options within the context of NB Power’s mandate to provide safe, reliable energy at low and stable rates. By the end of 2016, NB Power must balance social, environmental and First Nations considerations with a best-cost recommendation that meets reliability, environmental and financial targets set by the provincial government and its regulator, the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board.
The May dialogue sessions will focus on encouraging participants to share what is most important to them about the future of the station. Facilitators will foster small group discussions at individual tables and participants will share conclusions with the larger group. Participants are encouraged to show up at the start time and remain for the duration. The sessions are planned to be held in:
- Fredericton on Tuesday, May 17;
- Mactaquac on Wednesday, May 18; and
- Woodstock on Thursday, May 19.
Exact times and locations for the sessions will be announced soon.