Dynegy has reached an agreement to sell the shuttered Brayton Point power plant in Massachusetts to Commercial Development Co. (CDC) for an undisclosed sum.
CDC plans to turn the retired coal plant into an industrial port and staging area for the offshore wind power industry.
The sale, expected to close in mid-December, puts a definitive end to a plant and site, that once was the largest coal plant in New England.
Old coal plants don’t always just retire. Sometimes, they can be recycled.
Brayton Point, which began service in 1963, was once New England’s largest coal plant, but it has had a long and bumpy history in recent years. At one point there was speculation that the massive plant — 1,600 MW on a 300 acre deep water waterfront site in Somerset, Mass. — would be converted into a gas-fired generator. But that never made economic sense to the plant’s owners, and there have been several.
Dominion Energy bought the plant in 2005 and invested billions of dollars adding environmental controls.
Despite the upgrades, Dominion sold Brayton Point to private equity firm Energy Capital Partners in 2013, along with two other plants, Kincaid in Illinois and Elwood near Chicago.
Energy Capital Partners ended up in tussle with grid operator ISO-New England over the fate of Brayton. ECP wanted to close the plant but was reluctant about saying when that would happen. The ISO said the plant had enough market power that ECP had to come to a definitive agreement about the plant’s schedule.
In 2015 ECP sold Brayton and a bundle of other power plants to Dynegy for $3.35 billion. In addition to Brayton, the sale included 6,300 MW of generation in the New England and New York markets. Dynegy ran Brayton for about two years, closing it in May.
“Dynegy evaluated various forms of new build at our Brayton Point site, including re-powering. Due to economic conditions, Dynegy opted for more cost effective uprate opportunities at our existing facilities,” spokesman David Byford told Utility Dive.
With the sale to CDC, the closure of Brayton appears final. Randall Jostes, CEO of CDC told Utility Dive his company has no interest in using the site for fossil power generation.
“We are a believer in wind energy, and Massachusetts is aggressively pursuing wind power," he said.
The purchase price for Brayton was not disclosed, but it does include the demolition of the site, which Jostes said would take between 18 and 36 months. The sale with Dynegy is expected to close in Mid-December.
During the remediation process, CDC will be engaged in a “global marketing campaign to find appropriate end users for this location.”
High on the list, Jostes said, is turning the site into a facility for wind power. The site has access to the regional transmission grid, proximity to proposed offshore wind tracts, deep water port potential, and access to a skilled workforce in the New England area.
In addition, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently identified Brayton Point as a potential site for the development of an industrial wind port that would support the expected growth of offshore wind power in the state, which would require sites capable of component manufacturing, staging, operations, and maintenance.
Brayton Point will be the fifth coal plant that CDC has bought and recycled in the past three years, Jostes said.