Manitoba Hydro retires 60-year-old thermal station, further lowering utility’s carbon footprint

The Selkirk Generating Station.

After 60 years of operation, Manitoba Hydro is closing the Selkirk Generating Station, one of the last thermal stations in its generation mix.

The 132-megawatt facility, with two 66-megawatt generating units, was originally built as a coal-fired plant to serve Manitoba’s capital city of Winnipeg in 1960. The facility was converted to burn natural gas in 2002 for environmental reasons.

In recent years, Selkirk Generating Station had served as a redundancy for emergency situations that could have led to shortage in supply for both domestic and international customers. Hydro workers at the station had run the equipment for testing and maintenance every month – but the last time the station supplied material energy was in a drought during the winter of 2003-04.

With additional projects like the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project and Bipole 3 completed – doubling our import capability and massively enhancing our transmission capacity – continuing to operate the Selkirk Generating Station no longer makes economic or environmental sense for Manitoba Hydro.

“With the Keeyask Generating Station on schedule and the Bipole III and MMTP lines energized, we can supply all our customers – domestic and international – with more than enough clean, reliable hydropower to fulfill their needs,” said Shane Mailey, Vice-President of Operations for Manitoba Hydro. “We no longer need the extra capacity and energy from Selkirk Generating Station.”

It’s estimated the plant’s closure (full decommissioning will take several years) will lower Manitoba Hydro’s average greenhouse gas emissions by around 5,000 metric tons per year and will save the corporation up to $4.5 million USD annually.

Backed by a portfolio of extremely low-emission hydroelectric generating stations, Manitoba Hydro’s product is now virtually emissions-free.