Karen Wood, Conservation Law Foundation, 978-857-5389 (cell)
Sylvia Broude, Toxics Action Center, 617-747-4407 (office), 203-589-9989 (cell)
Becky Smith, Clean Water Action, 617-338-8131 x 210 (office), 617-314-2347 (cell)
Pauline Rodrigues, Coalition for Clean Air South Coast, 508-674-4242 (home)
BOSTON, MA October 11, 2013 – The new owners of the Brayton Point power plant, New England’s largest coal-fired power plant, today notified ISO-New England, the operator of the New England electricity grid, that they are closing down in 2017. Brayton Point Energy, LLC filed a “Non-Price Retirement Request” indicating that the plant will be retired by no later than June 2017. The plant was sold to Energy Capital Partners, a New Jersey-based energy investment company, barely one month ago, and only a year after completing a $1 billion upgrade of the plant to install pollution controls.
“Brayton Point is the largest and most modern coal-fired power plant in New England. If they can’t make a go of it, none of them can,” said Jonathan Peress, Vice President and Director of the Clean Energy and Climate Program for Conservation Law Foundation. “This is a death knell for coal in the region.”
“We’ve been telling our town leaders for years that this would happen, but we didn’t realize it would happen this soon,” said Pauline Rodrigues, Somerset resident and leader of Coalition for Clean Air South Coast. “Somerset needs all the help we can get to work towards a new, healthy and thriving economy. Now that the writing is on the wall, I hope we can all work together for a positive future for Somerset.”
“The community made it clear that they wanted a healthier economy for Somerset, and the new owner listened,” said Sylvia Broude, Executive Director of Toxics Action Center, a public health and environmental non-profit that has worked alongside community members since 2006. “We hope Energy Capital Partners will join local residents at the table to discuss reuse and cleanup and negotiate a transition plan with power plant workers. Somerset can be a model for other coal communities in New England to shift away from archaic dirty energy and towards clean technology.”
“This is big news for local residents who have been working for years for cleaner air and a healthier environment,” said Becky Smith, Campaigns Director for Clean Water Action Massachusetts. “Now the hard work begins in transitioning this former coal community towards a 21st century innovation economy. We will continue to work alongside community members for resources to move Somerset into a healthy and thriving future.”
The Energy Capital Partners notification was not surprising in light of the perfect storm of factors continuing to put downward pressure on coal plant economics outlined in a report released last February commissioned by the Conservation Law Foundation. Authored by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the report documented declining revenues making it unlikely that Brayton Point will ever return to profitability and argued that the poor financial prospects for Brayton Point are indicative of pressure on coal plants throughout New England and across the country. The report can be accessed here: https://www.clf.org/blog/clean-energy-climate-change/dark-days-ahead-the-financial-future-of-brayton-point/.