Critic says power plant will produce excess electricity for state and sell to Boston, other areas

Critic says power plant will produce excess electricity for state and sell to Boston, other areas

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CHARLESTOWN — If built, Invenergy’s proposed power plant in Burrillville will produce unneeded electricity for the Northeast region and harm the environment in multiple ways.

That was Paul Roselli’s message in a presentation about Invenergy Thermal Development LLC’s application to construct the Clear River Energy Power Plant, which was filed on Oct. 29, 2015. Roselli, who is president of the  Burrillville Land Trust, spoke before about 40 people at the Cross’ Mills Library Tuesday night. 

Members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe contracted with Invenergy in September to supply water to cool the turbines of the operation. The town of Charlestown was granted intervenor status as an affected town by the state Energy Facility Siting Board on Oct. 17 because the water would be tapped from the town’s sole source aquifer and trucked to the plant. 

Roselli has been presenting information about the potential plant to communities around the state; he said Tuesday’s was his 42nd talk. 

The project would produce a gigawatt of electricity produced by fracked oil and gas from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, he said. That’s enough power for 720,000 homes, but Rhode Island only has 426,000 homes. He also said that the electricity would be funneled to Worcester and Boston, Mass., rather than Rhode Island. 

Roselli said ISO New England, an independent nonprofit that oversees the region’s bulk electric power system and transmission lines, has determined the plant will produce electricity that is not needed because the region’s electrical needs are decreasing due to the increased use of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Reducing the cost of electricity to consumers, which was the other rationale for the plant, is also convincing since the rates might go down about .5 percent, or about 4 cents per day, for about three years, but the decrease is not guaranteed, he said. 

The plant will use about 18,720 gallons to 724,320 gallons of water per day, depending on whether it’s running on methane gas or oil. Of that water, 90 percent will be lost to evaporation, he said. 

Trucking the water would require up to 32 truck trips per day, at 8,000 gallons per truck, he said. That would require a truck trip every five minutes, he said. 

The plant would be expected to operate from 20 to 40 years, locking Rhode Island into years of using fossil fuel. 

“Once the plant is operating, it will not be shut down,” Roselli said. 

The siting board will hold a public hearing on the project on Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. at Charlestown Elementary School. Roselli recommended residents prepare for the hearing by writing their statements about the project for submittal to the board.


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