The Latest News about the Salem Harbor Power Plant

Seth Kaplan

(Photo credit: David Moisan)

There has been a significant development in the long running saga of the Salem Harbor power plant, one of the major targets of CLF’s Coal Free New England campaign. On October 5, Dominion Energy, the plant’s owner, quietly filed what is known as a Permanent Delist Bid with ISO New England (ISO-NE), the operator of the New England electricity system and markets. The filing commits Dominion to permanently withdraw Salem Harbor Station from the forward capacity market, the key market where power plants, and other resources like energy efficiency, are paid to be present, available and ready to meet the electricity needs of the region.

What does this mean?

By filing to permanently withdraw Salem Harbor Station from the forward capacity market, Dominion is signaling that it does not believe the market will be able to provide sufficient revenue to run the plant profitably and that it cannot maintain the plant going forward.

According to Paul Peterson, senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., “The delist process was created specifically to allow power plants to withdraw from the forward capacity market, either temporarily or permanently, depending on their economics. A power plant that enters a permanent delist bid – an irrevocable decision that it will no longer try to earn revenue from that key market – is laying the groundwork to shut down.”

Although there are alternative scenarios that could allow Dominion to re-enter the market at a future date, the barriers to re-entry are extremely high and the process for doing so is complex.

Excessive ratepayer burden

Dominion’s move puts additional pressure on ISO-NE to implement a plan by June 2014 that does not rely on Salem Harbor Station to keep the lights on – ever. On October 14, CLF filed a protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission citing ISO-NE’s failure to develop such a plan following the 2009 and 2010 auctions, keeping Salem Harbor Station available for “contingency” needs at enormous cost to area ratepayers. In our protest, CLF pointed to insufficient planning and loopholes in the ISO-NE process that have allowed Dominion to receive more than $30 million dollars in above market payments just to continue to exist, even while Dominion’s own filings indicated its intentions to leave the market. The company filed “static delist bids” for the past two years, a temporary exit measure that allows a company to receive above market payments if it is deemed necessary for reliability. Dominion’s ability to repeatedly game the system has forced ratepayers to bear the cost of maintaining an obsolete and polluting coal plant well beyond its useful life.

Buckling under pressure?

Salem Harbor Station is under increasing economic and environmental pressure. In June 2010, CLF filed a federal lawsuit against Dominion for repeatedly exceeding smokestack emissions limits at Salem Harbor in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. The suit would hold Dominion responsible for paying millions of dollars in penalties retroactively. Meanwhile, new EPA regulations on the near horizon will mean tougher pollution controls and multi-million dollar investments needed to comply with them. The permanent delist bid is a clear indication that Dominion doesn’t believe it can continue to wring dollars out of ratepayers for its obsolete plant for much longer, and we are making sure they won’t. Stay tuned.

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24 Responses to “The Latest News about the Salem Harbor Power Plant”

  1. Q: And what did put the nails in the coffin?
    Answers: Public pressure? Unlikely. Regulations? Well, they cost $. Plant deterioration? 60 years of hard work takes its toll on infrastructure. So I guess the answer is the corporate bottom line -too much $ out, not enough in.

  2. Q: And what did put the nails in the coffin?
    Answers: Public pressure? Unlikely. Regulations? Well, they cost $. Plant deterioration? 60 years of hard work takes its toll on infrastructure. So I guess the answer is the corporate bottom line -too much $ out, not enough in.

  3. Q: And what did put the nails in the coffin?
    Answers: Public pressure? Unlikely. Regulations? Well, they cost $. Plant deterioration? 60 years of hard work takes its toll on infrastructure. So I guess the answer is the corporate bottom line -too much $ out, not enough in.

  4. Q: And what did put the nails in the coffin?
    Answers: Public pressure? Unlikely. Regulations? Well, they cost $. Plant deterioration? 60 years of hard work takes its toll on infrastructure. So I guess the answer is the corporate bottom line -too much $ out, not enough in.

  5. This Plant should of been closed down three years ago after it took three Lives !! RED SIMPSON will Keep it going BA for Local 326 Make sure you make the bed Red when your done sleeping with Management…..

  6. This Plant should of been closed down three years ago after it took three Lives !! RED SIMPSON will Keep it going BA for Local 326 Make sure you make the bed Red when your done sleeping with Management…..

  7. This Plant should of been closed down three years ago after it took three Lives !! RED SIMPSON will Keep it going BA for Local 326 Make sure you make the bed Red when your done sleeping with Management…..

  8. This Plant should of been closed down three years ago after it took three Lives !! RED SIMPSON will Keep it going BA for Local 326 Make sure you make the bed Red when your done sleeping with Management…..

  9. Good ridance. That goes for anyone who got their drinking water from Wenham Lake, after if was found that all of the fly ash from Vitale’s property had been improperly stored and leaked into the lake creating a 3 foot bed of toxic fly ash at the bottom of the lake being used for drinking water.

  10. Good ridance. That goes for anyone who got their drinking water from Wenham Lake, after if was found that all of the fly ash from Vitale’s property had been improperly stored and leaked into the lake creating a 3 foot bed of toxic fly ash at the bottom of the lake being used for drinking water.

  11. Good ridance. That goes for anyone who got their drinking water from Wenham Lake, after if was found that all of the fly ash from Vitale’s property had been improperly stored and leaked into the lake creating a 3 foot bed of toxic fly ash at the bottom of the lake being used for drinking water.

  12. Good ridance. That goes for anyone who got their drinking water from Wenham Lake, after if was found that all of the fly ash from Vitale’s property had been improperly stored and leaked into the lake creating a 3 foot bed of toxic fly ash at the bottom of the lake being used for drinking water.

  13. New Bedford , Massachusetts has plans to use its harbor as the New England Wind Turbine Site of the Atlantic offshore wind power . Let’s clean the harbor first and show renewable energy will clean the toxic old power plants and they won’t be left to flow into the environment !

    Follow up to 2005 news story ;Cannon Street Power Plant ,New Bedford

    As the Legislature entered the home stretch of the 1996 session, local lawmakers made a final push to win state aid to remove a toxic power plant. The House in 1996 passed a plan that contains $300,000 to study the possibility of converting the toxic abandoned New Bedford power plant.

    The cleanup documents for the power plant are said to weigh around twenty pounds.

    http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-05/12-22-05/a01lo272.htm

    “In the longer term, the company plans to clean up the former power plant, a process that would begin next summer and cost about $3 million, Mr. Therriault said. The plant is contaminated with asbestos, lead paint and bird droppings; a section of the pier is contaminated with coal tar and heavy metals.

    In its press release announcing the sale, Sprague wrote that it is “Contractually committed to the remediation of the former power plant.” NStar has maintained that it wanted to be completely cleared of liability for the cost of cleanup, and that was a major obstacle in the city’s ultimately failed negotiations to purchase the property. ”

    This story appeared on Page A1 of The Standard-Times on December 22, 2005.

    http://kgurbanadvisors.com/cannon_street_station/press_clips.htm

    “At one point during a meeting with The Standard-Times, Stern said his firm estimated “land acquisition and cleanup costs” at more than $50 million. At another, he said the cleanup would cost “an order of magnitude more than $6 million,” which translates to about $60 million.

    “The site contains every type of contamination except nuclear,” he said. “There’s fuel oil, tar, coal tar, cyanide, lead paint, asbestos, guano (excrement from seabirds, seals and bats), asbestos and mold, and the mold is the scary part because the organics are very dangerous.

    “We know what’s there in the ground and in the building,” Stern said. “We spent six figures to produce a book that’s literally 20 pounds.

    “We could get the building cleaned up in nine months,” he said.”
    TOXINS STILL HERE DEC 7 2010

  14. New Bedford , Massachusetts has plans to use its harbor as the New England Wind Turbine Site of the Atlantic offshore wind power . Let’s clean the harbor first and show renewable energy will clean the toxic old power plants and they won’t be left to flow into the environment !

    Follow up to 2005 news story ;Cannon Street Power Plant ,New Bedford

    As the Legislature entered the home stretch of the 1996 session, local lawmakers made a final push to win state aid to remove a toxic power plant. The House in 1996 passed a plan that contains $300,000 to study the possibility of converting the toxic abandoned New Bedford power plant.

    The cleanup documents for the power plant are said to weigh around twenty pounds.

    http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-05/12-22-05/a01lo272.htm

    “In the longer term, the company plans to clean up the former power plant, a process that would begin next summer and cost about $3 million, Mr. Therriault said. The plant is contaminated with asbestos, lead paint and bird droppings; a section of the pier is contaminated with coal tar and heavy metals.

    In its press release announcing the sale, Sprague wrote that it is “Contractually committed to the remediation of the former power plant.” NStar has maintained that it wanted to be completely cleared of liability for the cost of cleanup, and that was a major obstacle in the city’s ultimately failed negotiations to purchase the property. ”

    This story appeared on Page A1 of The Standard-Times on December 22, 2005.

    http://kgurbanadvisors.com/cannon_street_station/press_clips.htm

    “At one point during a meeting with The Standard-Times, Stern said his firm estimated “land acquisition and cleanup costs” at more than $50 million. At another, he said the cleanup would cost “an order of magnitude more than $6 million,” which translates to about $60 million.

    “The site contains every type of contamination except nuclear,” he said. “There’s fuel oil, tar, coal tar, cyanide, lead paint, asbestos, guano (excrement from seabirds, seals and bats), asbestos and mold, and the mold is the scary part because the organics are very dangerous.

    “We know what’s there in the ground and in the building,” Stern said. “We spent six figures to produce a book that’s literally 20 pounds.

    “We could get the building cleaned up in nine months,” he said.”
    TOXINS STILL HERE DEC 7 2010

  15. New Bedford , Massachusetts has plans to use its harbor as the New England Wind Turbine Site of the Atlantic offshore wind power . Let’s clean the harbor first and show renewable energy will clean the toxic old power plants and they won’t be left to flow into the environment !

    Follow up to 2005 news story ;Cannon Street Power Plant ,New Bedford

    As the Legislature entered the home stretch of the 1996 session, local lawmakers made a final push to win state aid to remove a toxic power plant. The House in 1996 passed a plan that contains $300,000 to study the possibility of converting the toxic abandoned New Bedford power plant.

    The cleanup documents for the power plant are said to weigh around twenty pounds.

    http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-05/12-22-05/a01lo272.htm

    “In the longer term, the company plans to clean up the former power plant, a process that would begin next summer and cost about $3 million, Mr. Therriault said. The plant is contaminated with asbestos, lead paint and bird droppings; a section of the pier is contaminated with coal tar and heavy metals.

    In its press release announcing the sale, Sprague wrote that it is “Contractually committed to the remediation of the former power plant.” NStar has maintained that it wanted to be completely cleared of liability for the cost of cleanup, and that was a major obstacle in the city’s ultimately failed negotiations to purchase the property. ”

    This story appeared on Page A1 of The Standard-Times on December 22, 2005.

    http://kgurbanadvisors.com/cannon_street_station/press_clips.htm

    “At one point during a meeting with The Standard-Times, Stern said his firm estimated “land acquisition and cleanup costs” at more than $50 million. At another, he said the cleanup would cost “an order of magnitude more than $6 million,” which translates to about $60 million.

    “The site contains every type of contamination except nuclear,” he said. “There’s fuel oil, tar, coal tar, cyanide, lead paint, asbestos, guano (excrement from seabirds, seals and bats), asbestos and mold, and the mold is the scary part because the organics are very dangerous.

    “We know what’s there in the ground and in the building,” Stern said. “We spent six figures to produce a book that’s literally 20 pounds.

    “We could get the building cleaned up in nine months,” he said.”
    TOXINS STILL HERE DEC 7 2010

  16. New Bedford , Massachusetts has plans to use its harbor as the New England Wind Turbine Site of the Atlantic offshore wind power . Let’s clean the harbor first and show renewable energy will clean the toxic old power plants and they won’t be left to flow into the environment !

    Follow up to 2005 news story ;Cannon Street Power Plant ,New Bedford

    As the Legislature entered the home stretch of the 1996 session, local lawmakers made a final push to win state aid to remove a toxic power plant. The House in 1996 passed a plan that contains $300,000 to study the possibility of converting the toxic abandoned New Bedford power plant.

    The cleanup documents for the power plant are said to weigh around twenty pounds.

    http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-05/12-22-05/a01lo272.htm

    “In the longer term, the company plans to clean up the former power plant, a process that would begin next summer and cost about $3 million, Mr. Therriault said. The plant is contaminated with asbestos, lead paint and bird droppings; a section of the pier is contaminated with coal tar and heavy metals.

    In its press release announcing the sale, Sprague wrote that it is “Contractually committed to the remediation of the former power plant.” NStar has maintained that it wanted to be completely cleared of liability for the cost of cleanup, and that was a major obstacle in the city’s ultimately failed negotiations to purchase the property. ”

    This story appeared on Page A1 of The Standard-Times on December 22, 2005.

    http://kgurbanadvisors.com/cannon_street_station/press_clips.htm

    “At one point during a meeting with The Standard-Times, Stern said his firm estimated “land acquisition and cleanup costs” at more than $50 million. At another, he said the cleanup would cost “an order of magnitude more than $6 million,” which translates to about $60 million.

    “The site contains every type of contamination except nuclear,” he said. “There’s fuel oil, tar, coal tar, cyanide, lead paint, asbestos, guano (excrement from seabirds, seals and bats), asbestos and mold, and the mold is the scary part because the organics are very dangerous.

    “We know what’s there in the ground and in the building,” Stern said. “We spent six figures to produce a book that’s literally 20 pounds.

    “We could get the building cleaned up in nine months,” he said.”
    TOXINS STILL HERE DEC 7 2010

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