à Coleson

La Centrale
électrique de
Coleson Cove est
la plus grande
centrale d'Énergie
NB. C'est
également la plus
grande source
d'émissions de
gaz à effet de
serre (CO2) au
Canada Atlantique.

Le gouvernement
du Nouveau-
Brunswick a
accordé son
appui et son
approbation à un
projet de 750 $
millions pour
convertir la
Centrale de
Coleson Cove de
sorte qu'elle
puisse y brûler de
L'orimulsion est
un combustible
fossile encore plus
sale et plus haut
en soufre que le
utilisé, ce qui
assure la
contribution du
à la contribution
mondiale des gaz
à effet de serre
pour les 35

L'orimulsion n'est
utilisé en aucun
autre endroit aux
États-Unis et au
Canada, sauf par
Énergie NB à
leur centrale
électrique de
Dalhousie, là où
l'on retrouve de
sérieux problèmes


Coleson Cove
(Photo: CBC News)











Orimulsion at Coleson Cove

David Thompson
Friends of the Musquash
December 2002

he Coleson Cove Generating Station, with its three 350 mega-watt units, and output capacity of 1005 mega-watts of electricity, is N.B. Power's largest plant. It is also the largest single point source of greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions in Atlantic Canada.

(photo: NBPower)

The Coleson Cove plant has operated since 1976, burning a low grade of number 6 Bunker oil. Smoke from its 600 foot stack often blackens skies from Grand Manan to Fundy Park when the plant is cranked up to meet U.S. export power demands.

On October 10th, the government of New Brunswick gave their endorsement and approval for a $750 million project to convert the Coleson Cove plant to burn Orimulsion. Orimulsion is an even dirtier and higher sulfur fuel than the oil currently being burned, thus assuring New Brunswick's contribution towards global greenhouse gas production for the next 35 years.

The government's decision flew in the face of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) summary, which said, "almost all those who participated in the public consultation were overwhelmingly against the project."

(Photo: CBC News)

The major part of the $750 million project construction work at Coleson Cove will involve the building of a scrubber system and a second 600 foot stack to clean up the Orimulsion emissions to meet standards for releasing sulphur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere. However, direct air pollution and increased greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions from the plant are not the only environmental concerns.

The scrubber at Coleson Cove will require 200 000 tonnes of limestone a year. This limestone will be delivered from where it is quarried to Saint John by 15 ship trips a year, and then to Coleson Cove by an ongoing parade of thousands of truck trips.

The scrubber will also require fresh water, almost doubling the amount of water currently used at the plant. The source of this water supply will be the lakes in the newly proclaimed Loch Alva Protected Area.

Loch Alva Protected Area
(Photo: N.B. Protected Natural Areas Coalition)

N.B. Power plans to sell some of the used limestone (gypsum) from the scrubber operation for wallboard. However, a large dump site will be required for the remainder of the lime waste from the scrubber and the contaminated sludge from waste water treatment. N.B. Power suggested a site for this dump on the Shannon Watershed, which has been turned down by the EIA, as it presented a direct risk to the proposed Musquash Marine Protected Area. It now appears that the Environment Department will allow a new dump site to be established nearby without an EIA. Perhaps New Brunswick will have the next Sydney Tar Ponds.

Orimulsion is a mixture of bitumen, a tar-like substance, and water. It is dirty and it is cheap. There are few markets for it and only one supplier - the national oil company of Venezuela. Orimulsion will be delivered to Saint John by large tankers and then pipelined to Coleson Cove. When spilled into the water, Orimulsion does not float on the surface like oil, but sinks into the water column. Any effective containment or cleanup from a tanker accident or pipeline spill into the Bay of Fundy would be impossible with current technology.


Orimulsion is not being used as a fuel anywhere in the United States or in Canada except by N.B. Power at their Dalhousie Generating Station, where serious air emission problems exist.

With the government of New Brunswick about to begin selling off the assets of N.B. Power, Coleson Cove is the first they have put on the auction block and already they have received expressions of interest from several potential buyers. If Coleson Cove is sold, it will probably operate as a merchant power plant and at full capacity year-round. Already a consortium has been developed to raise funds to finance a direct underwater power cable from Coleson Cove to New York City, which would bypass the grid and utilities along the way. This proposal has been named Project Neptune, and we can expect to hear more about it soon.