Company responds to changing business environment, cuts coal use
SYDNEY – In a move to continue reducing its use of coal, Nova Scotia Power announced today that it will seasonally operate two of four units at the Lingan Generating Station.
“We’re able to cut our coal use because of significant changes happening in our business - including a decrease in industrial load, more renewable energy on the system and increasingly stringent environmental requirements,” said Nova Scotia Power President and CEO Rob Bennett. “Like any responsible business, we have to adjust to these changes so that we can continue to serve our customers and control costs.”
The seasonal operation will see one unit shut down temporarily this spring, with another unit expected to shut down temporarily later this year. The company expects both units will still be needed during the coldest winter months.
Approximately 30 unionized positions will be affected by the temporary shutdown of the units. Through workforce and succession planning, the actual number of directly impacted employees is expected to be reduced to 12. Nova Scotia Power plans to work closely with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on an approach that will minimize the overall impact on employees.
“Our employees work hard every day to serve our customers and to adjust to the changes in our business,” said Mr. Bennett. “This was a difficult decision because of the impact on employees, but it is a necessary step to ensure we are controlling costs for our customers and improving our environmental performance.”
In step with provincial renewable energy standards and emissions limits, Nova Scotia Power is significantly changing how it makes electricity. Progress over the last five years (2006 to 2011) has seen coal use cut from 80% of total generation to 57%. Over the same time period, the use of cleaner burning natural gas has increased from 3% to 20%, and renewable energy has increased from 11% to 17%.
The Lingan Generating Station was commissioned between 1979 and 1984 as a coal-burning thermal generating station. It originally burned Nova Scotia coal, but has burned mainly international coal since the closure of the Cape Breton Development Corporation mines in 2001. The station’s four units have a total production capacity of 640 megawatts. It employs approximately 150 people.