After 60 years of operation and with abundant renewable hydro-electric power, Manitoba Hydro’s thermal Selkirk Generating Station is being taken out of service.
Maintained as an emergency supply for southern Manitoba in cold months, the continued operation of the Selkirk Generation Station is unneeded with the completion of the Bipole III transmission line last year, the Manitoba–Minnesota Transmission Project this year, and the Keeyask Generating Station forecast to produce first power this fall.
“Our system is such now that it no longer makes economic or environmental sense for Manitoba Hydro to maintain and operate the Selkirk station,” said Shane Mailey, Vice President of Operations at Manitoba Hydro. “We can supply more than enough power with our hydroelectric stations. We no longer need the extra capacity Selkirk Generating Station provides.”
Closing the natural gas-powered station will save an estimated $5 million a year and lower average greenhouse gas emissions by about five kilotonnes annually.
“Closing it makes good economic and environmental sense – for the utility and for our customers,” Mailey said.
Thirty-three employees currently work at Selkirk Generating Station. Following the station’s closure, some will be redeployed, and some will remain at the plant to operate critical functions such as security, maintenance, heating, and fire protection.
“We’re working closely with the unions to redeploy staff according to provisions of our collective agreements,” Mailey said.
Facts about Selkirk Generating Station:
- Construction began in May 1957 and finished in 1960.
- Of the approximately 3,000 tonnes of structural steel required to build Selkirk Generating Station, over 2,300 tonnes were fabricated in Manitoba.
- Selkirk Generating Station is a thermal station, which means it uses a combustible fuel to create steam; the steam drives a steam turbine and generates electricity. Originally a coal-fired plant, it was converted to natural gas for environmental reasons in 2002.
- While Selkirk’s generators have been run once a month to keep the station and its staff proficient, it has been used infrequently to supply power to Manitoba Hydro’s system. The last time was in February 2017.
- Full decommissioning will not be completed for several years. No decisions have been made about the physical footprint of the plant or the property it occupies.