Licensing review

Selkirk Generating Station

We submitted an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Environment Act Licence Review (EALR) of the Selkirk Generating Station (GS) to Manitoba Conservation in October 2005. A decision regarding the station license is pending.

The purpose of the EIS and the EALR process is to ensure Selkirk GS – one of the utility’s two thermal plants – is operating in accordance with prevailing regulations and standards. It also provides Manitoba Hydro the opportunity to implement voluntary improvements to ensure the station operates in accordance with Manitoba Hydro’s internal Environmental Management Policy. In addition, the licence review process allows Manitoba Hydro to update the terms and conditions of the existing Environment Act Licence to more accurately reflect the current and future operation of the station.

Role of the Selkirk Generating Station

On average, Manitoba Hydro generates approximately 95 per cent of its electricity from hydraulic resources. The remaining 5 per cent is provided by a combination of thermal resources and electricity imports. The Selkirk plant contributes to Manitoba Hydro’s thermal resources.

Selkirk GS is a valuable asset to Manitoba Hydro. The station is a clean, low-impact thermal station that can be relied upon to produce energy in times of constrained supplies from primary generation sources. Since converting from coal-fired operation to natural gas-fired operation, Selkirk is considered among the lowest emitting thermal power plants in Canada. The station’s operations produce virtually no emissions of mercury, metals, or sulphur dioxide. Emissions of other combustion by-products are insignificant. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), produced while firing natural gas, are fewer than produced by other fossil fuels which reduces the GHG inventory that Manitoba Hydro manages under the Corporation’s long-term GHG management strategy.

The station employs two independent generating units to produce electricity. Each unit consists of a steam generator, a steam turbine-generator, and auxiliary systems. The steam generator combusts the feedstock fuel and heats water to produce steam; the steam turbine converts steam into rotational energy which is coupled to an electrical generator to produce electrical energy. The electrical energy enters Manitoba Hydro’s grid through a transmission substation used for regulating voltages.

Brandon Generating Station Unit 5

Unit 5 is a coal-fuelled, 105-megawatt electricity generating unit at our Brandon Generating Station. The current Environment Act Licence governing operation of Unit 5 has a requirement for review.

In 2006, a completed environmental impact statement (EIS) assessing the environmental effects and associated mitigation and monitoring requirements for future Unit 5 operation was submitted to Manitoba Conservation for their Environment Act Licence Review (EALR).

The EIS was reviewed in 2007 by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which is a provincial government body with membership from several government departments.

An update to the 2006 EIS was submitted to Manitoba Conservation in 2011. Volume 5 addresses the implications of the operating restrictions imposed by the 2008 Climate Change and Emissions Reduction Act and includes updated monitoring data to enhance the information submitted in the original EIS. This update concluded that the original assessments remain valid and applicable to the EIS.

The purpose of the EALR is to establish appropriate operating conditions and limits for the continued operation of Unit 5.

The EALR will:

  • be based on the detailed environmental studies contained in the EIS;
  • include a human health and environmental risk assessment;
  • assess the effect of Unit 5 operation on water, air, ambient noise, and land.

The EALR also provides Manitoba Hydro the opportunity to identify and implement voluntary environmental improvements.