Opponents say Killingly plant adds questions for Burrillville proposal

An artist's rendition of the proposed plant in Killingly, Conn.

KILLINGLY, Conn. – The reopening of an application for a new power plant in a neighboring town casts additional doubt on the need for one proposed for Wallum Lake Road in Burrillville, according to Town Manager Michael Wood.

The Connecticut Siting Council recently voted to take another look at a proposal by NTE Connecticut LLC to build a 650-megawatt plant in Killingly, Conn. following an auction where the facility was awarded a contract to produce 5 megawatts of power.

Wood points out that Invenergy, the Chicago-based company hoping to construct a 1,000-megawatt plant in Burrillville, recently lost its capacity award. The contracts to produce power are awarded years in advance to ensure the region will have the ability to meet local demand.

“Killingly just got the capacity award that Invenergy lost,” said Wood. “It’s good evidence the the plant here in Rhode Island is no longer viable.

“Not only is Invenergy is not needed, we don’t think the Killingly plant is needed,” Wood added.

The council itself expressed similar doubts about the Killingly facility in 2017, denying the application in Connecticut on the grounds that the company had failed to demonstrate need for additional electric-generation capacity.

Wood has been closely watching the process in the neighboring state, and says that in both cases, not enough weight has been given to ongoing developments in wind and solar energy.

“We’ve shown that the alternative energy market is up and coming,” said Wood.

The town manager, who has led the town of Burrillville in its fight against the proposal to erect a new facility adjacent to a protected forest, notes that since Invenergy first submitted its application in 2015, much has happened to change the energy landscape.

“The alternative energy market is in its infancy, but in the time we’ve been doing this project it really has matured,” said Wood. “What we see coming in the future is more of that.”

“It’s my opinion that power plants should be put on hold until they prove one way or another if (alternative sources) can meet the demand,” said Wood.

Rhode Island’s Energy Facility Siting Board is still in the process of reviewing the Burrillville proposal.

The initial evidentiary hearing for the Killingly plant is set for April 4.

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