The Mactaquac Dam spillway, New Brunswick, on a foggy morning.

The Mactaquac Dam spillway, New Brunswick, on a foggy morning.

Our energy landscapes work is reaching a milestone with the defense of the first Masters student. Kristina Keilty will defend her MES thesis, titled ‘Understanding Landscape Values and Baselines of Acceptability on the Mactaquac Dam and Headpond, New Brunswick‘, in Rowe 5001 from 1-3 next Thursday, August 6th. ┬áThese are open events, so all are welcome. Kristina extended our research with locals around the Mactaquac headpond, begun with our 2013 focus groups undertaken on a houseboat. These folks are currently facing an uncertain future due to the premature degradation of the Dam’s concrete sections. Local feelings are running high: come hear what future they would prefer to see, and why:

Due to the growing interest in sustainable energy futures, jurisdictions at all scales are exploring options to reduce dependencies on dwindling fossil fuel reserves and moving forward with renewable energy generation. In the pursuit of a sustainable energy future we have to understand not only the economic and environmental implications that renewable energy infrastructure will have but also the social implications of such a change. The purpose of this study was to understand how people can come to accept utilitarian energy infrastructure in the landscape. This study used a hydroelectric dam and headpond to understand public perception and landscape values. Dam removal and rebuilding decisions are going to increase as dams continue to age and the Mactaquac Dam offers us a case study to understand the emotions and values that citizens have felt throughout the life of a dam.