NB Power considering second Grand Falls generating station
Published Friday, April 21, 2017 6:36PM ADT
NB Power is exploring the possibility of building a second generating station at Grand Falls.
The rushing St. John River, which flows through the New Brunswick town, provides both a scenic view and a valuable supply for hydroelectricity for NB Power.
"Grand Falls is the perfect place to expand in New Brunswick," says Gaëtan Thomas, president of NB Power.
The utility says if it gets the go-ahead, a 100-megawatt generating station could be built next to its existing station.
Both the power utility and the province say residents of Grand Falls and nearby First Nation communities will form what will become an application for an environmental impact assessment.
"We believe there will be minimal environmental impact," says Thomas.
NB Power is planning to make the application for another hydro station in Grand Falls by the end of the year.
"We have to wait to see if there will be some kind of conditions and if it can move forward at all," says Premier Brian Gallant.
The Premier touting the potential project as an environmental benefit.
"It will also be very important if we want to have opportunities to export our energy across the world," says Premier Gallant.
Some are concerned adding another hydro station would divert water from the iconic waterfalls.
"Obviously there will be an impact at one point with regard to our tourist attraction being the falls, with another generating station, less water going through the falls, but this is something we've discussed with Mr. Gaëtan Thomas," says Marcel Deschênes, the Mayor of Grand Falls.
"We'll be working closely with the community to come up with some plans to really keep that aspect which is really important," says Thomas.
Grand Falls resident Caroline Bernier is in awe of the attraction, whether the water is raging or not.
"When there's not that much water you can still see the rocks, and you can see a little bit of water coming down and it's very pretty," says Bernier.
Still, if the project does eventually go ahead, NB Power and the provincial government are making a commitment to keep the 'Grand' in Grand Falls.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore.