Manitoba Hydro has announced plans to decommission the Selkirk natural gas generating station.
In a press release on Wednesday, Hydro said the closure would save about $ 5 million a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five kilotons a year.
According to Hydro, the Selkirk station was maintained as an emergency power supply for southern Manitoba during the winter months. They said the plant was no longer needed due to the completion of the Bipole III transmission line in 2019, the Manitoba – Minnesota transmission project in 2020 and the Keeyask power plant, which is expected to generate electricity in the fall of 2020.
“Our system is now such that it no longer makes sense for Manitoba Hydro to maintain and operate the Selkirk station economically or environmentally,” said Shane Mailey, vice president of operations for Manitoba Hydro in the Press release. “We can supply more than enough electricity with our hydroelectric plants. We no longer need the additional capacity at the Selkirk generating station. Its closure makes economic and environmental sense – for public service and for our customers. “
Wilderness Committee activist Eric Reder said in a statement that the closure is a win for the environment, adding that Manitoba needs a plan to achieve zero net emissions. Manitoba now has an opportunity to “remedy the injustices” of its water level controls on Aboriginal communities, he said.
A Crown Services spokesperson said the closure of the Selkirk station eliminates the requirement for unnecessary operating and capital expenditures. The cessation of operations also supports the emission targets set out in the Manitoba Green and Climate Plan.
Thirty-three people work at Selkirk station. Hydro said that some employees will be redeployed, and some will remain at the plant to perform essential functions such as security, maintenance, heating and fire protection. The decommissioning process, which may take several years, will begin once Hydro receives regulatory approval.
The Selkirk station, completed in 1960, was originally fueled by coal. It was converted to natural gas in 2002 and used infrequently, the last time in February 2017.