Parties seek to intervene in Clear River Energy combined-cycle gas plant case

A dozen individuals or organizations have filed motions to intervene with the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board as the board prepares to consider plans by an Invenergy company to develop a combined-cycle natural gas power plant that could generate 1,000 MW.

The three-member board, which includes representatives from various agencies, is the state licensing and permitting authority for power projects. It has set a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 12, on the application by Invenergy Thermal Development LLC for the Clear River Energy Center.

In an application filed with the board on Oct. 29, 2015, Invenergy Thermal Development sought board approval construct the Clear River Energy Center, a combined-cycle electric generating facility of approximately 850 MW to 1000 MW.

The power plant and associated facilities would be located on Wallum Lake Road in Burrillville, RI. The hearing is set Jan. 12 at 9:30 AM, in Hearing Room A of the Public Utilities Commission office building, 89 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, Rhode Island.

The plant is intended to fire natural gas as a primary fuel and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel as a backup fuel. Motions to intervene were due by Dec. 23.

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has sought to intervene in the case. CLF promotes renewable energy use in New England. “The proposed power plant, because it would be fired by a fossil hid, would emit atmospheric carbon and would consequently have an impact on Rhode Island and global climate,” CLF said in its filing.

In addition, Narragansett Electric Co. d/b/a National Grid seeks to intervene because the facility would connect to National Grid’s Switching Station via a new 6-mile long electric transmission line to be installed and owned by National Grid.

Others seeking to intervene include the Town of Burrillville; the Office of Energy Resources; Fossil Free Rhode Island; Occupy Providence; Burrillville Land Trust and various individuals, including a nun who is opposed to fracking.

Invenergy filed its own motion Dec. 28 opposing intervention by groups includes Occupy Providence, Fossil Free Rhode Island, the nun as well as other individuals, and Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG) among others.

The entities that Invenergy seeks to keep out don’t meet the criteria to intervene in the case, the company said. Intervention should be limited to parties “that have either statutory rights to intervene, directly affected interests that will not be adequately represented by other Parties or special public interests that compel intervention as a Party.”

Some entities assert only an interest that is “based on general socio economic and environmental interests to its members,” Invenergy said.

“Also, it is not in the public interest to allow each and every property owner or resident who lives within the vicinity of the project to intervene as a full party to this proceeding, particularly where the responsible government agencies will be active participants to the proceedings,” Invenergy said.

The case is Docket No. SB-2015-06.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.