Salem News September 20, 2012
Tom Dalton STAFF WRITER
SALEM — The first large public hearing on Footprint Power’s plan to build a natural gas-fired power plant on the Salem waterfront generated a lot of questions and concerns, but little heat.
If there is strong, broad-based community opposition to the idea of replacing 61-year-old Salem Harbor Station, a coal and oil-fired facility, with another power plant, it didn’t emerge last night from the more than 100 people who attended a Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board hearing at Salem High.
The project got a warm reception, as expected, from elected officials, business leaders and a union representative from the plant, but it also was endorsed by a Salem-based environmental group and several neighbors.
The Siting Board will conduct a public comment hearing to receive public comments on the proposed Footprint Natural Gas Facility, which will replace the current coal facility at Salem Harbor Station.
The hearing is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at Salem High School, 77 Wilson Street, Salem, Massachusetts. This is an important opportunity to hear from the developers.
At the public comment hearing, Footprint will present an overview of the proposed facility. Public officials and the public will then have an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the proposed facility. The Siting Board will also accept written comments on the proposed Facility at the public comment hearing. Written comments also may be filed with the Siting Board at the address below, until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.
The public comment hearings will be recorded by a court reporter. Interpreters for both Spanish and Portuguese will be available at the public comment hearings for any members of the public who need translation in order to ask questions or make comments.
The Boston Globe reports that Dominion, the previous owner of Salem Harbor Station, has announced that it will sell its largest Massachusetts coal-fueled plant, Brayton Point.
Dominion Resources Inc. said Thursday it plans to get out of the wholesale power business and reduce debt by selling its massive Brayton Point plant in Somerset.
Brayton Point, which includes three coal-fired units and one operated on oil or natural gas, generates up to 1,536 megawatts of electricity, enough for about 1.5 million homes, according to the Virginia-based company. Located across Mount Hope Bay from Fall River, it has about 190 employees.
The decision to put Brayton Point on the market follows last month’s completion of a deal by Dominion to sell the Salem Harbor Power Station in Salem to Footprint Power LLC.
The closure of the Somerset plant would be a victory for the Coal Free Commonwealth campaign, which aims to shudder all the state’s coal-fired plants by 2020.
The Salem News reports that the new owner of the Salem power plan, will be partnering with Toyta Tsusho Corp., a member of the group of companies that includes Toyota Motors Corp.
“We are delighted to add a world-class organization with Toyota’s resources and experience as a member of our team,” said Peter Furniss, Footprint’s CEO.
“We look forward to working together with Toyota Tsusho to successfully develop a new, clean, efficient facility that will serve as the economic engine that will drive redevelopment of the rest of the non-power portions of the site.”
Toyota Tsusho will be actively involved in the development process, contributing financially to the project as well as providing its expertise in development and operation of electric generating facilities. Read more.
The Salem News updated this story on September 6.