Algonquin works on lateral to serve repowered Salem Harbor plant

Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC is pursuing a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for the lateral gas pipeline needed to serve Footprint Power’s repowered Salem Harbor power plant in Massachusetts.

FERC sent a Nov. 4 letter to the gas company thanking it for its Oct. 31 request to use FERC’s pre-filing review process. “We believe that beginning the Commission’s review of this proposal prior to the receipt of your application will greatly improve our ability to identify issues early and address them in our environmental document,” FERC noted.

Algonquin is planning to construct and operate about 1.2 miles of 16-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Salem, Mass., that would extend from Algonquin’s existing Hubline offshore facilities in Beverly Harbor and terminate at the Salem Harbor facility. A meter station would also be constructed. The lateral project would provide 115,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas to the Salem Harbor facility, which is proposed for redevelopment by Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP.

Algonquin intends to file an application with FERC in July 2014. “When Algonquin files its application with the Commission, we will evaluate the progress made during the pre-filing process, based in part on our success in resolving the issues raised during scoping,” FERC noted. “Once we determine that your application is ready for processing, we will establish a schedule for completion of the environmental document and for the issuance of all other federal authorizations.”

The target in-service date for Algonquin’s Salem Lateral Project is Nov. 1, 2015.

“Footprint will be the firm shipper on the lateral and is working closely with the New England ISO and other State and community stakeholders to replace an existing coal burning electric generation plant with a new natural gas-fired electric generation facility,” said the Oct. 31 Algonquin filing. “Algonquin and Footprint have entered into a Precedent Agreement for development of the Salem Lateral Project, which provides that Algonquin and Footprint will enter into a firm transportation service agreement for service on the lateral.”

GE wins contract to supply turbines for the new capacity

General Electric (NYSE: GE) said Nov. 1 that it has worked out an agreement with Footprint Power to provide Salem Harbor with a new 674-MW natural gas facility. This project, said GE, would address local reliability needs, reduce regional emissions and facilitate the introduction of the renewable resources Massachusetts requires to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Footprint Power bought the coal- and-oil-fired plant last year from Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) with the express intent of running it for a while as it worked on replacing it with new gas-fired capacity. The repowered facility, which will utilize two GE 7F 5-series gas turbines, will include the first “Rapid Response” power island to be deployed in New England.

According to ISO-NE, Footprint’s new Salem Harbor facility is needed to maintain the reliability of electricity supply in the greater Boston area beginning on June 1, 2016. In February 2013, Footprint cleared the ISO-NE Forward Capacity Auction to supply generating capacity beginning in 2016.

The existing coal- and oil-fired Salem Harbor Station will shut down at the end of May 2014, and GE’s equipment will ship in late 2014/early 2015. Commercial operation is planned for June 2016. The existing Salem Harbor plant has four separate units. Units 1 and 2, both coal-fired, were removed from service at the end of 2011. Of the two remaining units, one is coal-fired and one is oil-fired.

A New Jersey-based company, Footprint Power was formed in 2009 by longtime power-industry executives to identify opportunities for the re-powering or re-purposing of older fossil-fuel fired generation facilities.

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.