Permitting process for proposed Burrillville power plant extended
The long and winding path of the permitting process for the $1-billion power plant proposed in Burrillville will go on a little longer.
WARWICK, R.I. — The long and winding path of the permitting process for the $1-billion power plant proposed in Burrillville will go on a little longer after taking another twist on Monday.
The Energy Facility Siting Board approved a 90-day extension to the process to collect new advisory opinions and testimony on the recent disqualification of one of the 1,000-megawatt power plant’s two generating units from an upcoming auction that secures electric capacity for the region.
The extension, granted in response to a motion from the Conservation Law Foundation, pushes back the start of final hearings on the controversial fossil fuel-burning power plant until March. Those hearings, which were set to get underway Dec. 8, represent the last stretch of a process that began more than two years ago.
Deliberations for the application were originally supposed to wrap up early this year, but the project experienced repeated delays as Invenergy, the Chicago company behind the proposal, struggled to tie up a necessary source of water to supply the secondary steam turbines for the combined-cycle facility.
The company eventually secured an agreement with the Town of Johnston, but that pact is being challenged in court. It also has secondary deals with the Narragansett Indian Tribe and a trucking company that would bring in water from the City of Fall River.
The extension was granted because of more recent troubles suffered by the proposal, known as the Clear River Energy Center. Earlier this month, Invenergy notified the siting board that because of permitting delays the second generating unit wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the auction held by Independent System Operator New England, the manager of the regional power grid.
Even though the company learned of the decision in September, it waited to tell the board and other parties involved in the permitting process. Invenergy also failed to share all the documentation from ISO-NE.
“They wanted to sanitize it,” said Michael McElroy, a lawyer for the Town of Burrillville, which opposes the project.