Final public comment hearing on power plant tonight
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.