Massachusetts Turns Coal Plant Into A Green Energy Center

The current population of the state of Massachusetts is estimated to be 6.93 million. In February 2019, state utilities used natural gas (66.1%), nuclear energy (21.1%) and renewable energy (12.8%) to generate electricity. Hydropower and solar are the primary types of renewable energy.

Massachusetts use of nuclear energy contributes to state’s high electricity costs. In February 2019, the average cost of electricity in Massachusetts was U.S. 23.3 ¢ per kWh, which is the 3rd most expensive price in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States is 12.5 ¢ per kWh. Concerns about climate change have prompted Massachusetts legislators to accelerate the moved from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

In August 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill promoting clean energy in the state. The bill mandates Massachusetts electric utilities have 35% renewable energy sources by 2030. The bill further mandates the following:

1. Authorizes adding up to 1,600 MW from offshore wind farms.

2. Utilities must measure how much natural gas is leaking from pipelines.

3. Establishes a “clean peak” standard, requiring utilities to use renewable energy during peak power periods.

4. Prohibits utilities from applying a special charge on rooftop solar owners.

Commercial Development Company (CDC) and Anbaric have announced plans to build a renewable energy center at the shuttered Brayton Point Coal Plant in Somerset, Massachusetts. The new facility will be called the Anbaric Renewable Energy Center and will contain a 1,200 MW high-voltage direct current converter and a 400 MW energy storage system.

CDC is a privately held diversified real estate acquisition and development company that is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. CDC’s expertise is re-positioning of underutilized, distressed or environmentally challenged properties. Anbaric is headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts and specializes in early stage development of large-scale electric transmission systems, the transformation of the electric and heating/cooling systems on campuses and storage solutions surrounding microgrid projects.

Anbaric CEO, Edward Krapels stated, “The Renewable Energy Center represents Anbaric’s broader vision for its Massachusetts OceanGrid project: high-capacity transmission infrastructure to maximize the potential of the region’s offshore wind energy resource.” CDC and Anbaric estimate the cost of the Renewable Energy Center will exceed $650 million.

States along the eastern seaboard of the United States are continuing to make progress in the development of utility scale offshore wind farms. The key to any offshore wind farm is the development of the onshore infrastructure including high-voltage direct current converters and energy storage systems. In my opinion, the Renewable Energy Center is a step in the right direction.

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