Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Orders ISO-NE to Plan for Close of Salem Harbor Station

Claire Morgenstern Claire Morgenstern


Karen Wood, CLF, (617) 850-1722, kwood@clf.org
Shanna Cleveland, CLF, (617) 850-1716, scleveland@clf.org

BOSTON, MA  December 17, 2010 – In response to a protest filed by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ordered ISO New England (ISO-NE) to identify alternatives that would replace Salem Harbor Station’s dirty coal and oil-fired power and to do so without delay. In the order, issued yesterday, FERC gave ISO-NE 60 days to submit a plan for reliability alternatives and a timeline for implementing those solutions.

In October, CLF submitted a protest to the FERC challenging a decision by ISO-NE that could have kept the 60 year old Salem Harbor Station running for years longer, despite the damage it causes to public health and the environment, as well as the huge costs it imposes on ratepayers.  In its Order, the FERC agreed with CLF that ISO-NE was required to develop plans for replacing Salem Harbor last year, after its owner, Dominion Energy, signaled its desire to leave the New England electricity market. The decision paves the way for alternatives that could hasten Salem Harbor’s shut down and the shutdown of other old coal plants in New England and beyond that are currently being maintained for reliability purposes. CLF is in the midst of a lawsuit against Dominion for violations of the Clean Air Act at Salem Harbor Station and is pushing for the plant’s shut down as soon as 2012.

Shanna Cleveland, staff attorney at CLF said, “The news that FERC is mandating action to ensure that this dirty coal plant can retire without impacting reliability is a development of national significance. The Chicken Little warning that old coal is needed to keep the lights on—brandished by coal interests primarily to delay long overdue emissions reductions requirements—simply isn’t true. With its Order, FERC concurred that the sky will not fall – the lights will not go out without old coal – if we plan for a future without it. That future is now.”

FERC’s Order will accelerate the ISO-NE planning process for finding alternatives, including energy efficiency, conservation, electric transmission line upgrades, and renewable energy, that can replace the need for Salem Harbor Station.  CLF will continue to work with ISO-NE to ensure rapid deployment of a plan that moves New England beyond coal to a clean energy economy.

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. Using the law, science and the market, CLF creates solutions that preserve natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy region-wide. Founded in1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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