Lingan, Cape Breton: After 28 years with Nova Scotia Power, Tony Stevens could write the book on how power is produced in Nova Scotia.
“After that many years, you really get to know the company; how it works and how important it is to our customers,” says Tony. “They count on us every day, and we need to be there. I can’t imagine a more interesting place to work in the whole province.”
From humble beginnings at the Seaboard generating station in Glace Bay back in the 1980’s, to the renewable hydro systems on the mainland, to overseeing the gas-fired plant in Tufts Cove, Dartmouth, Tony has found his way back home to Cape Breton as senior plant manager at the Lingan generating station.
“I’ve been around the block and back again,” says Tony. “And I didn’t think twice about the opportunity to move back home. I’ll be overseeing significant work and investments at Lingan over the next couple of years that will help ensure the reliability of power for our customers.”
In 2015, Nova Scotia Power invested approximately $15 million in upgrades to one of the four generating units (unit #3) at Lingan, and a similar investment is planned on unit #4 for 2016. While the company continues to focus on renewable energy, such as hydro, and meeting provincial emissions targets, coal-fired plants will continue to be a reliable and cost effective source of energy for customers, so investing in them is essential.
“Tony is absolutely the best person for this job,” says Mark Sidebottom, Vice President of Power Generation and Delivery. “Looking at the future of the plant and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador coming on line in 2017, we know that his extensive experience, skills and in particular his ability to manage through times of change will be real assets.”
This year, 25% of the total electricity used by Nova Scotians will come from renewable sources; by law that will increase to at least 40% by 2020. As the amount of renewable energy in Nova Scotia has rapidly increased over the past few years, units #1 and #2 at Lingan have been used a lot less over that time.
“The way we are using our generation fleet is changing,” says Mark. “We are becoming more and more flexible in our operations to enable more renewable energy to be incorporated into our energy mix. No final decision has been made yet, but we will likely retire a coal unit after the Maritime Link comes online in 2017. If we do, it will most likely be unit #2 at Lingan.”
Approximately 120 employees work at the Lingan generating station year-round and more – employees and contractors – will be helping with the upgrading work in the coming year. With enough time to plan, Tony and his team also continue to work toward the anticipated changes to come.
“It’s great to be back home and working with this amazing and skilled team,” says Tony. “What we are doing is important; it’s planned, it’s strategic and it’s the right thing to do for our customers and the province.”