Nova Scotia Power investing in future generation with Lequille Hydro Plant upgrades

HALIFAX – It’s been 49 years since the Lequille Hydroelectric System on the Allain River (formerly Lequille River) began generating electricity in the Annapolis Valley. The Lequille powerhouse was widely celebrated when it first opened in 1968 as it was constructed close to the site of North America’s first grist mill built in 1607.

“The Lequille River system has long been a source of transportation, food, milling, and electricity for First Nation and Nova Scotian communities,” said Wes Trimper, Hydro Superintendent with Nova Scotia Power. “We’re proud to be part of this community and this project will ensure customers are able to benefit from the continued production of clean, renewable electricity.”

The Lequille Hydro System consists of three storage reservoirs and a three-mile canal that diverts water flow to a concrete intake structure. A wood stave penstock attached to the intake structure conveys water to the Lequille hydroelectric generating facility, which contains a water wheel connected to a 13 megawatt generator. Lequille generates enough electricity each year to power 2,000 to 3,000 homes.

This year, Nova Scotia Power is investing nearly $4 million dollars to ensure the hydro facility’s reliability, safety and efficiency. Work taking place this year includes the refurbishment of the generator, replacement of the hydro system’s pipeline and switchgear, and installation of a new control system and instrumentation. It’s expected that this project will wrap up by the end of the year.

“We continually assess our facilities to determine if and when upgrades are needed to ensure we can safely and reliably deliver service to customers,” said Trimper. “This investment in Lequille will support Nova Scotia Power’s efforts to transition to more renewable energy generation.”

The public may notice an increase in equipment and activity along the Lequille hydro system while these upgrades are underway. Nova Scotia Power crews and contractors will be carrying out the project, including Annapolis Valley-based Brown Bros Excavating Limited who will be working on wood stave penstock replacement.

We appreciated the patience of Grand Lake residents and cottage owners while we lowered water levels at the beginning of the season to minimize lost generation over the course of this project. We do not anticipate further disruption to typical water levels at Grand Lake due to this project.

The public is advised to expect increased water flows through Allain Creek, as it is part of the hydro system spillway, and to take extra safety precautions near this waterway over the coming months.

Lequille is one of 33 hydroelectric generating stations located along 17 river systems across the province that provide a firm source of renewable energy and are an important part of Nova Scotia Power’s requirement to generate 40 per cent of electricity from renewable sources in 2020. In 2016, Nova Scotia Power reached a record 28 per cent of renewable electricity generation.