Former site of New England’s largest coal plant to become offshore wind hub

The site of a former coal-fired power plant in Somerset will be transformed into Massachusetts’ first offshore wind turbine manufacturing plant, the governor announced Thursday.

Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito visited the old Brayton Point Power Station to celebrate the plans. The state’s last coal-fired power plant, Brayton Point, closed in 2017 as environmental groups lobbied for cleaner sources of power generation.

An Italian cable manufacturing company, Prysmian Group, has finalized a deal to acquire a 47-acre plot on the site to manufacture subsea transmission cables that will carry power generated by offshore wind to the power grid .

Baker said they were taking what was once a power generator in a different time and bringing it to the next century.

“I think if we continue to play our cards right, we can make a very big investment in the Commonwealth and in this region in the future, and support a lot of deep-sea activity along the Atlantic coast,” he said. he declared.

The investment in Somerset was part of Avangrid Renewables’ successful bid to the state for a future offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, south of Martha’s Vineyard. The Commonwealth Wind project was selected by Massachusetts in December to advance contract negotiations to provide 1,200 megawatts of electricity to the state in 2027. That’s enough to power about 750,000 homes a year.

Brayton Point had been burning coal since 1963 as New England’s largest coal plant. It only took a few seconds for two 500 feet cooling towers to be dismantled in 2019. They were believed to be the tallest such structures ever brought down in controlled demolition at the time.

Prysmian Group is spending around $200 million for the new manufacturing facility. Avangrid and Prysmian Group said they chose the site because of its waterfront industrial location and its size.

Also as part of the Commonwealth Wind project, the state’s second offshore wind port will be established in the Port of Salem.

A separate offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, Vineyard Wind, advance as the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. The nearly $3 billion project is an essential part of the The Biden administration’s plan to develop renewable energy in the United States It is a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

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