Rhode Island board suspends review of Invenergy’s 1,000-MW Clear River project

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) on Oct. 13 applauded a decision that day from the Rhode Island Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) to suspend Invenergy LLC’s application for approval of a natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville.

The board chose to suspend the docket for 90 days due to Invenergy’s failure to provide necessary information about the source of its water supply. The board had earlier issued a “show cause” order to the company asking it to prove the suspension was not needed.

“Invenergy’s proposal to build a costly plant that will burn dangerous fossil fuels continues to hit one road block after another, and for good reason: the facts are stacked against them,” said CLF senior attorney Jerry Elmer. “The legal deadline for Invenergy to submit a complete application has long passed, yet crucial elements concerning the plant’s ecological and environmental impacts remain missing. Merely suspending the docket at this point falls one step short – it’s time for the Board to close the docket once and for all.”

In January, CLF submitted a motion to dismiss this docket to the EFSB on the grounds that Invenergy’s application was incomplete. The environmental group said Invenergy’s application remains incomplete, forming the basis of a new motion to dismiss from CLF that is currently pending before the board. The town of Burrillville also has a pending motion to dismiss.

“The town does not want this plant,” a town representative said during the Oct. 13 hearing. He said the board should reject the application outright, since a suspension would be a “gift” to Invenergy that would grant it an “indefinite suspension” of the proceeding.

Invenergy had agreed to the suspension prior to the Oct. 13 hearing to give it more time to line up water supply. An Invenergy attorney told the board it could take up to 90 days to work out a water agreement, which was the basis for the 90-day suspension period granted by the board.

In an application filed with the board in October 2015, Invenergy sought the approval of the board to site and construct the Clear River Energy Center, a combined-cycle facility of 850 MW to 1,000 MW, and associated facilities and structures, on Wallum Lake Road in Burrillville. The plant is intended to fire natural gas as a primary fuel and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel as a backup fuel.

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.