Power grid operator abandons plans for Killingly power plant

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A proposal for a natural gas-fired power plant in Killingly, which angered environmental activists for six years, suffered a major setback after the regional power grid operator – ISO-New England – said it did not want not that Killingly was one of them. of his future projects.

In a Nov. 4 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the independent system operator that manages the New England grid – known as ISO-New England – requested permission to cut Killingly off considerations of future electricity. ISO-NE has launched a battle over the Killingly power plant project with its decision to include it in future power plans, known as Capacity Supply Obligation (CSO). Killingly is owned by NTE Energy.


The letter to FERC states, in part, that after consultation with NTE Energy, ISO-NE “is exercising its right to seek to terminate the Killingly CSO.” If accepted by FERC, ISO-NE will “withdraw the financial assurance” that NTE Energy was required to provide to support its commitment to the project, and ISO-NE would withdraw the qualified capacity of Killingly from future plans. ISO-NE has asked FERC to place an order within 60 days from the date of the letter and set a termination date for January 3, 2022, before the next time ISO-NE has to choose future installations. production in February. .

Without ISO-NE’s commitment to use the 650 megawatts the plant would have provided, building the Killingly Energy Center would likely be a less economically viable project. It’s unclear whether NTE would simply scuttle the project at this point. NTE did not respond to a request for comment on Friday morning.

Opponents of the Killingly plant were encouraged by Friday’s news.

“This is extremely welcome news,” said Samantha Dynowski, state director of the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club, one of the many groups that have fought tirelessly at the Killingly plant for years. “Without an obligation to provide capacity, I don’t think we’re going to see that happen.”

Equally optimistic was Kate Donnelly of No More Dirty Power.

“I think we noticed that the panels were sticking up against the factory,” she said. Funding was not guaranteed and some land had not been secured, but most of the final permits were in place, with the exception of one for a gas pipeline that Eversource was to build to connect to the plant.

“We think this is really the beginning of the end,” Donnelly said.

FERC has yet to approve the request, which is based on ISO-NE’s current commitment to expire the feed-in deadline.

In a statement, an ISO-NE spokesperson explained its action as follows: “Any new resource acquiring an obligation to provide capacity must meet several development milestones, including funding, authorizations, orders major equipment and commercial operation. Developers who face delays in meeting milestone deadlines have the option of finding other resources to cover their obligations for up to two years. After these two years, if a project is still not able to meet its deadlines, ISO has the right to request termination of the resource’s obligation by filing with the Commission. ISO exercises this right with respect to the Killingly Energy Center.

ISO-NE has long argued that just because it was committed to Killingly didn’t necessarily mean it would be built – noting that many projects it was committed to were scrapped.

But he noted that NTE would have the option to re-enter Killingly into the capacity market at a later date, but would have to start the qualification process again for new resources.

Climate change advocates weren’t the only ones opposing the plant. More recently, state officials argued that another fossil fuel power plant would run counter to the state’s mandate for a 100% zero-carbon power sector by 2040 and its other climate change reduction targets. .

In January, Governor Ned Lamont said, “I don’t want to build Killingly.

On Friday he said, “If ISO says we need Killingly to keep the lights on, I’m going to keep the lights on. But I wanted to do all I could as governor over the past two and a half years and make sure we didn’t need New England’s last natural gas power plant to keep the lights on.

Katie Dykes, the commissioner for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, has long used Killingly’s perspective as an example of why the operation of the New England grid must change. She has said over and over again that he ignores individual states’ mandates and goals on climate change.

“I believe we need to change the system that brought us this factory in the first place. We are doing this by working with other states to reform ISO-New England, ”she said in January. “This is where we can have the biggest and most lasting impact. “

On Friday, she said there had been questions about the viability of the plant for some time. “ISO’s latest communication indicates that it also believes this plant is not viable,” she said.

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