Author: Terry Toner, Director, Environment and Aboriginal Affairs, Nova Scotia Power
We have heard concerns from customers and stakeholders regarding a recent fish kill near our White Rock generating station. We are equally concerned; we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. We’re working hard with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to learn everything we can about this event, and to avoid it happening again. Our company has rigorous environmental management practices at all our generating stations, and we take extra care to protect fish and wildlife habitats near our facilities.
Nova Scotia has a 100-year history of using small hydro developments on our rivers to generate clean, renewable electricity. Nova Scotia Power has 32 hydro generating stations positioned along 16 river systems across the province, and continually seeks ways to improve fish passage and ensure the right flows at the right time to maintain and nurture fish populations.
The White Rock fish ladder was rebuilt in 2002 to provide access by migratory fish up and down the river. At White Rock, we provide different flows for the smelt run in April, the gaspereau run in May and June, and salmon in the spring and fall. In 2016 we also opened the newly-built ladder on the St. Margaret’s Bay hydro system, allowing gaspereau to ascend the Indian River for the first time since 1881.
We regularly engage our customers and communities near our generating stations to understand their needs. Many Nova Scotians rely on our reservoirs for recreational use, so we also do our best to maintain appropriate water levels and flows for their needs. Our company is proud to support community initiatives and partner on local events allowing us to connect with our customers in our communities we live, work and raise our families.
Also, we are working with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, KMKNO and the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq communities to understand the cultural significance of the lands, resources and waterways within operations, and address potential impacts to areas of cultural concern.
Hydro is critical for the generation of renewable energy in Nova Scotia, and complements other energy sources such as wind. In 2016, 28 per cent of our electricity came from renewable sources, including eight per cent from hydro and tidal generation. Hydro will help us achieve our 2020 requirement for 40 per cent of electricity in Nova Scotia to be generated from renewable energy sources.
We recognize that our operations have the potential to affect aquatic species and habitats in rivers and reservoirs, and we strive to minimize any impacts and invest in facility upgrades. We’re committed to continuing that work and doing what we can to protect the local environment, while balancing the need to provide our customers with clean, renewable electricity for years to come.
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