Connecticut groups consider prospects for Bridgeport power plant site

On Feb. 4, a set of stakeholders in Connecticut kicked off a community planning process to set a path forward for the region once the Bridgeport coal-fired power plant is retired, the Sierra Club said in a Feb. 5 statement.

The group, called the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), was  established by a Bridgeport City Council resolution in late 2014. The City Council charged the committee with securing funding and hiring experts to study possible futures for the site, as well as ensuring the community has a voice in the future of the harborfront property.

Bridgeport is home to the last remaining coal unit in Connecticut, which is controlled by the PSEG Power unit of Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG), and one of the last three in New England not currently slated for retirement.

“The Healthy CT Alliance is concerned about the health risks the coal plant poses, and is  equally committed to replacing lost revenue and jobs when the plant retires,” said Onté Johnson, a Bridgeport resident and organizer with the Sierra Club. “This is Bridgeport’s chance to step up and become a leader in clean energy. This is our moment to plan for a healthier, coal-free future for our community and to make sure that every voice is included in that conversation.”

The City Council resolution to establish the CAC was organized and supported by the Healthy Connecticut Alliance (HCA), which includes Toxics Action Center, CT Coalition for Environmental Justice, CT Fund for the Environment, 350 CT, Conservation Law Foundation and the Sierra Club. The resolution also called for the company to phase out coal burning altogether at the Bridgeport Harbor Station.

Said a Dec. 31, 2014, statement from Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch about the membership of the committee and the City Council resolution calling for the shutdown of the coal unit: “Bridgeport is moving forward due to a clean energy future. We’re creating green jobs. We’re powering more and more homes through the production of virtually pollutant free energy right here in our city. And, we’re continuing to become a national leader in the green economy. Thanks to the City Council for passing this resolution, and I’m looking forward to working with the members of this newly formed committee.”

In a Jan. 21-22 investor presentation, PSEG noted the possible investment of $500m-$700m to add at the Bridgeport Harbor Station a new 450-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) unit. The presentation said that in 2014, the Bridgeport Harbor coal unit was taking ultra-low-sulfur coal out of Indonesia from Adaro, which has been needed for several years now to meet regional clean-air needs.

The Bridgeport Harbor facility consists primarily of three electric generating 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.