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New Brunswick – Energy mix a mixed bag

New Brunswick is home to:

  • Canada’s only liquefied natural gas receiving terminal
  • Canada’s largest oil refinery
  • Point Lepreau nuclear generating station

45. 2,429 megawatts of generating capacity

Tour Stop: Dalhousie Generating Station, Dalhousie

New Brunswick relied on conventional thermal generation for 67 per cent of its electricity in 2008. New Brunswick generates thermal electricity from two coal-fired plants, three oil-fired plants, and three combustion turbine plants.

Total installed capacity of the province’s thermal generating stations is 2,429 megawatts. Total electricity generated in 2008 amounted to 9.5 terawatts, or 67 per cent of the province’s total generation.

In recent years, because of rising fuel costs and uncertainty of supply, New Brunswick has experimented with co-firing petroleum coke and heavy fuel oil at one of its thermal plants. The test project was successful and received environmental approval in April 2009.

Whew, barely out of Quebec and already in the northernmost town in the whole province of New Brunswick. In fact, you can still see Quebec’s Miguasha National Park from here. Kind of appropriate, eh Norm? After all, the Dalhousie Generating Station’s using fossil fuels over here and there’s a park full of fossils over there. Segue!

46. 25 to 30 per cent of electricity needs

Tour Stop: Point Lepreau

New Brunswick has one nuclear power plant, Point Lepreau, located on the south coast about 45 kilometres southwest of Saint John. The plant has a net installed capacity of 635 megawatts, and supplies 25 to 30 per cent of New Brunswick’s electricity needs.

Point Lepreau came into commercial service in 1983 and is currently undergoing refurbishment which will prolong the life of the plant by 25 to 30 years. Without the refurbishment, it would have been necessary to close the plant in 2010. Restart is scheduled for November 2009. The Government of New Brunswick is currently studying the feasibility of constructing a new 1,100 megawatt nuclear power plant, Point Lepreau 2, next to the existing one.

Because most of New Brunswick’s electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, increased use of nuclear power will replace some of the thermal generation thereby decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in the province. As well, nuclear power will mitigate the effects of volatile oil prices and uncertainty of supply.

If an additional reactor is built, New Brunswick has the potential to become an energy hub for the Maritime region.

Point Lepreau has a pair of interesting sites to visit. The first is the Point Lepreau nuclear plant, which provides enough power to more than a quarter of the entire province. The second is the Canadian Coast Guard’s light station, keeping the shoals safe. Would you look at that light, Norm? Whoa, not that close! Oh Norm, now you’re going to need a break before you head out on the road again.

47. 1 and only LNG facility

Tour Stop: Saint John Harbour

The Canaport LNG Terminal in Saint John, completed in June 2009, is the first LNG terminal built on the east coast of North America in 30 years, as well as the first LNG receiving and regasification terminal in Canada. The facility has a capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet per day.

Once regasified, the natural gas will flow through the Brunswick Pipeline, a 145-kilometre pipeline, connecting Canaport to the existing Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline near St. Stephen, NB. From there, the gas will travel through the Maritime and Northern Pipeline systems to markets.

The Canaport LNG facility provides a reliable and economical supply of natural gas to the Maritime Provinces and northeast United States, areas where the demand for natural gas is growing.

Saint John, New Brunswick: largest city in the province, home of Canada’s largest refinery, and home to the Port of Saint John, where 25.58 million metric tonnes of cargo passed through the Bay of Fundy in 2008. They sure do everything big here, don’t they, Norm?

48. 300,130 barrels per day of petroleum products

Tour Stop: Saint John

The Irving refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick is Canada’s largest refinery. It produces 300,130 barrels per day of petroleum products such as gasoline, ultra low sulphur diesel, oil, asphalt and spent acids. Crude oil is delivered to the refinery by tanker via Irving’s Canaport Crude Terminal in Saint John harbour. About 58 per cent of the refinery’s output is exported to the United States.

The refinery has enjoyed a number of firsts, including being the:

  • First Canadian refiner to make high octane gasoline without the use of lead additives
  • First to offer low-sulphur gasoline, 5 years ahead of regulation
  • First oil company [Irving Oil] ever to receive the US EPA Clean Air Excellence Award(2002)
  • First and only Canadian refinery to be recognized by Hart World Fuels as "Refiner of the Year"

Norm was about to leave for Nova Scotia, but he had to stop and take a look at Saint John’s Reversing Falls. It’s not every day you get to see tidal currents change the direction of a river, and Norm’s all about exceptional experiences. Of course, where Norm’s going next, tidal currents are more than just an interesting oddity; they’re a source of energy.

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