Connecticut residents protest Bridgeport Harbor coal use

Members of the Healthy Connecticut Alliance traveled Oct. 14 from Bridgeport, Conn., to Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) headquarters in Newark, N.J., to protest continued life for coal-fired capacity at the Bridgeport Harbor power plant, said a local news report.

The report said the protesters met with a PSEG official, then left the meeting early. “A lot of us got up and left the meeting because of the runaround they were giving us,” said Elaine Thompson-Ward, as quoted in the article at ctpost.com.

But PSEG officials, in a statement quoted in the report, said that since acquiring the plant, the company has participated in efforts to make emissions control standards more stringent. For several years now, the plant has burned only ultra-low-sulfur coal from PT Adaro in Indonesia to meet SO2 limits without having to install new air emissions controls.

Last November, despite protests, PSEG Power Connecticut LLC was granted a new, five-year permit to operate the plant by the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In a September 2012 response to public comments on the draft permit, the state agency said the permitting met all requirements and added: “It should be noted that Bridgeport Harbor Station’s Unit 3 contributes to the diversity of electricity generation for Connecticut and assists in maintaining regional reliability, which is also a concern of significant importance.”

The state added: “Bridgeport Harbor Station’s Unit 3 is a 410 MW tangentially-fired boiler. When producing electricity, Unit 3 is capable of burning either coal or #6 oil. The unit is the largest coal-fired unit in Connecticut, and the third largest in the New England Power Pool. While coal-fired units are typically high emitters compared to other fossil fuel-fired generators and alternative fuels, Unit 3 is a well-controlled unit that has been operating in compliance with all state and federal air quality limitations. ISO New England recognizes the reliability issues posed by New England’s increasing dependence on natural gas-fired generators and is looking for solutions to mitigate the risks associated with extreme reliance on any one given source category. As Connecticut’s last coal-fired generator, the continued operation of Unit 3 increases fuel diversity among Connecticut’s traditional fossil fuel-fired generators and thereby contributes to increased system reliability.”  

In January, groups including the Sierra Club jointly filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking a shutdown of the coal part of the Bridgeport Harbor Station. The lawsuit accuses the plant of Clean Air Act violations.

Bridgeport Harbor Station, which is owned and operated by PSEG Power Connecticut, consists primarily of three units: a 170-MW residual oil-fired cyclone unit; a 410-MW dual-fired unit (coal and oil); and a 22-MW combustion turbine.  

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.