By - Jim Vess

Retired coal-fired power plant site to be turned into $650 million transmission facility for offshore wind

Energize Weekly, May 22, 2019

The site of a former Massachusetts coal-fired power plant is slated to be turned into a $650 million relay for electricity produced offshore, according to energy developer Anbaric.

The Anbaric Renewable Energy Center, built on the site of the old Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, will have a 1,200-megawatt (MW), high-voltage, direct-current (HDVC) converter and 400 MW in battery storage.

The estimated cost of the converter is $250 million and the battery storage unit $400 million.

The project is part of Anbaric’s broader “Ocean Grid” plan—the development of high-capacity transmission infrastructure for offshore resources—and its construction, beginning in 2021, is twinned with winning a bid for offshore wind development.

“As Massachusetts considers harnessing more offshore wind, the right infrastructure needs to be envisioned and set in motion,” Edward Krapels, Anbaric’s CEO, said in a statement. “An HVDC substation is an important piece not only for Brayton Point Commerce Center, but also Massachusetts’ status as a leader in offshore wind.”

For 50 years, Brayton Point was the site of a 1,600-MW coal-fired power plant. In 2018, the retired plant and surrounding property were purchased by the Commercial Development Company (CDC) and rebranded as the Brayton Point Commerce Center.

With 300 acres of waterfront property and a deep-water port, CDC aims to transform the site into a logistic hub and manufacturing center for offshore wind development. In May, CDC imploded the two large cooling towers on the site.

“We see Anbaric as a natural fit with the development of the Brayton Point Commerce Center,” Stephen Collins, a CDC executive vice president, said in a statement.

In April, Massachusetts approved its first offshore wind development: two 400-megawatt installations in an area south of Martha’s Vineyard developed by Vineyard Wind.

The two wind farms will be built in an area 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 13 nautical miles southwest of Nantucket. The first 400-MW installation is scheduled to go into operation in January 2022 and the second in January 2023.

In March, Massachusetts issued a second request for proposals (RFP) for 1,600 MW of offshore wind, which will be awarded in November.

“Developing a landing point for 1,200 MW of offshore wind at the site of a former coal plant physically and symbolically represents the transformation from fossil fuels to wind,” Krapels said.

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