Fi­nal public com­ment hear­ing on power plant tonight

Woonsocket Call - - Blackstone Valley - By JOSEPH FITZGER­ALD jfitzger­ald@woonsock­et­ Fol­low Joseph Fitzger­ald on Twit­ter @jofitz7

BUR­RIL­LVILLE – The state En­ergy Fa­cil­ity Sit­ing Board’s last public com­ment hear­ing on In­ven­ergy’s plans to build a $1 bil­lion gas and diesel oil burn­ing power plant in Pas­coag will be held tonight.

The hear­ing will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Bur­ril­lville Mid­dle School au­di­to­rium, 2200 Bron­cos High­way, Har­risville. Doors will open at 5 p.m.

Bur­ril­lville res­i­dents thought they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in their last public hear­ing on In­ven­ergy’s plans back in Oc­to­ber, but later that month In­ven­ergy un­ex­pect­edly asked for an­other public hear­ing after sub­mit­ting an amended wa­ter sup­ply plan on Sept. 28. In ad­di­tion to iden­ti­fy­ing the Nar­ra­ganset In­dian Tribe as a new sup­ple­men­tary source of wa­ter, the plan also gave Benn Wa­ter & Heavy Trans­port first-time sta­tus as a full backup to the pri­mary source – the town of John­ston.

In­ven­ergy said it wanted an­other public com­ment hear­ing in Bur­ril­lville to be sure it is fully com­pli­ant with the statu­tory re­quire­ments for public hear­ings, cit­ing the many ad­just­ments to its wa­ter sup­ply plan since the com­pany’s orig­i­nal per­mit to build CREC was filed in 2015 .

A sim­i­lar public hear­ing is planned in Charlestown.

That hear­ing is be­ing held be­cause the EFSB has de­ter­mined Charlestown is a com­mu­nity af­fected by the pro­posed power plant con­struc­tion be­cause the ap­pli­ca­tion in­cludes a backup wa­ter sup­ply from wells lo­cated in Charlestown that are owned by the Narragansett In­dian Tribe.

Two weeks ago, the EFSB granted mo­tions by the Town of Bur­ril­lville and Con­ser­va­tion Law Foun­da­tion to pro­vide a 90-day ex­ten­sion to al­low for ad­di­tional dis­cov­ery and to give their ex­perts time to ex­am­ine the im­pact and rea­son why In­ven­ergy’s pro­posed 1,000-megawatt power plant’s two gen­er­at­ing units were dis­qual­i­fied from an auc­tion by In­de­pen­dent Sys­tem Op­er­a­tor New Eng­land, which man­ages the re­gional power grid.

Ear­lier this month, ISO-NE, a neu­tral, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that cal­cu­lates the re­gion’s en­ergy needs for the fu­ture and helps de­ter­mine whether ad­di­tional sup­pli­ers are war­ranted in the mar­ket­place, dis­qual­i­fied In­ven­ergy’s planned Clear River En­ergy Cen­ter Unit 2 from of­fer­ing into Fe­bru­ary’s ca­pac­ity auc­tion be­cause of per­mit­ting de­lays re­sult­ing from local op­po­si­tion to the nat­u­ral gas-fired plant in Pas­coag.

As a re­sult, the EFSB on Mon­day agreed to not only grant a 90-day ex­ten­sion of the process, but also re­quested ad­di­tional supplemental ad­vi­sory opin­ions on the is­sue from the Of­fice of En­ergy Re­sources and Statewide Plan­ning.

The EFSB rul­ing will ex­tend the start of the fi­nal hear­ings on In­ven­ergy’s ap­pli­ca­tion. The hear­ings were slated to be­gin Fri­day, but that has been can­celed un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Mean­while, Chicago-based In­ven­ergy is push­ing back the open­ing of the pro­posed power plant to 2021 be­cause of per­mit­ting de­lays in con­nect­ing the fa­cil­ity to the elec­tric grid.

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