Invenergy again delays proposed start-up of Burrillville plant

Invenergy again delays proposed start-up of Burrillville plant

The Westerly Sun

CHARLESTOWN — Invenergy, the Chicago company seeking approval of a natural gas- and oil-fired power plant in Burrillville, continues to experience delays in the project, and local opponents of the plant have asked for more time to prepare their testimony against it.

In a submission last week to the state Energy Facility Siting Board, Invenergy Thermal Development LLC changed its target operational date for the proposed Clear River Energy Center for a second time, from sometime in 2019 to June 1, 2021. The filing said National Grid doesn’t expect to be able to complete a 7-mile transmission line from an existing switching station to the plant until December 2020 because of delays in the permitting process.

But a National Grid spokesman told The Providence Journal that the utility has been waiting for Invenergy to provide financial assurances and other information to proceed. The spokesman, Ted Kresse, was quoted by the Journal as saying that Clear Energy had not authorized the utility to proceed.

Siting board hearings on the application for the transmission line are set to begin on April 30. 

Charlestown has also asked the siting board for an extension in filing testimony related to the project because Invenergy was slow in supplying key requested materials, Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero said.

Dec. 8 was the scheduled date of the town’s final hearing before the board, but because of the delays in receiving the material,  the town cannot meet the Nov. 28 deadline of filing all pre-filed testimony at least 10 days prior to the start of the final hearing, he said. 

On Oct. 17, the board granted the Town of Charlestown intervenor status as an affected town because water taken from the town’s  aquifer would serve as a source of cooling water for the plant’s turbines. Members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe contracted with Invenergy in September to supply water from Indian Cedar Swamp located on Narragansett land within Charlestown. 

On Nov. 20, Ruggiero filed the extension request, citing a monthlong wait for an unredacted copy of the company’s Water Supply Plan Supplement dated Sept. 28. 

On Nov. 17, Invenergy “finally produced a nondisclosure agreement in need of edits,” Ruggiero wrote in the motion. 

“The lack of having this information has caused delays for the experts hired by Charlestown in conducting their analysis on the Water Supply Plan Supplement and how it affects the Town of Charlestown,” he wrote.

Ruggiero’s request would extend the procedural schedule by 30 days, moving the deadline for pre-filed testimony, exhibits, a list of experts and other materials to Dec. 28. Objections and rebuttal testimony would be scheduled for Jan. 13 and final hearings would begin on Jan. 28. 

On Dec. 5 at 6 p.m., the board will hold a public hearing on the project at Charlestown Elementary School. The motion to extend the final hearing does not affect the date of the public hearing. 

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com


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