ENGIE, others break ground on solar project at shut Mt. Tom coal plant

Mt. Tom Solar LLC, a subsidiary of ENGIE North America, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 13 for a 5.76-MW solar farm at the site of the former coal-fired Mt. Tom Power Station in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Beginning in January 2017, Mt. Tom Solar will sell renewable energy from the facility to Holyoke Gas & Electric under a Power Purchase Agreement. The solar installation will be one of the largest in the state, and include more than 17,000 solar panels on about 22 acres. The solar farm represents the beneficial utilization of the property of the Mt. Tom Power Station site, which was operated by an affiliate of Mt. Tom Solar and retired in 2014.

“HG&E is pleased to work with ENGIE on this project which, through the Power Purchase Agreement, expands our portfolio of low-cost renewable energy, and helps us maintain some of the lowest electric rates in the region,” said James M. Lavelle, Manager of Holyoke Gas & Electric, in an Oct. 13 statement. 

“Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in solar installations as we build a clean energy future that reduces costs to ratepayers,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to promoting public-private partnerships, like the ones that made the Mt. Tom solar project a reality, that maximize the benefits to all stakeholders.”

“For ENGIE, this project brings the concept of ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse’ to life,” said ENGIE North America President and CEO Frank Demaille. “It’s a unique opportunity to transform this property from a coal plant to a solar farm to serve the local community, and we’re grateful to Holyoke Gas & Electric, the citizens and City of Holyoke, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their support as we create a new era for this property.”

ENGIE, which is the new name for GDF SUEZ around the world, manages a range of energy businesses in the United States and Canada, including electricity generation and cogeneration, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution and sales, and retail energy sales. More than 90% of the company’s power generation portfolio produces no carbon emissions or very few. 

Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) is a municipally-owned utility that was formed in 1902. Today the department provides electricity, natural gas, and fiber optic telecommunications services to over 18,000 customers. 

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.