By ecoRI News staff
KILLINGLY, Conn. — The Connecticut Siting Council recently voted to reopen NTE Connecticut LLC’s application for the construction of a 650-megawatt dual-fuel electric generating facility on Lake Road and granted environmental groups’ request for a full evidentiary process, to properly consider the need for the facility and its environmental impacts.
At its Feb. 14 meeting, council members voiced ongoing questions regarding the need for the fossil-fuel facility.
“The way forward isn’t building more fossil fuel plants in communities already struggling with asthma and air pollution and increasing our over-reliance on fossil fuels,” Katherine Fiedler, legal fellow for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, wrote in a press release. “Instead, it’s finding ways to grow solar, wind, and efficiency projects that also improve grid resiliency and generate local job growth.”
If approved, the Killingly Energy Center would be the second electric-generation facility sited on Lake Road. The existing facility in Killingly is within a mile from the site of the proposed new power plant. The town of Killingly borders Rhode Island.
The proposed site is also adjacent to the 32-acre Dunn Preserve owned and maintained by the Wyndham Land Trust, and the surrounding area is in the Quinebaug and Shetucket Valley National Heritage Corridor, also called The Last Green Valley.
New England is moving to rapidly accelerate the development of renewable energy. Several states have increased their renewable-energy commitments and Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have all recently announced plans to contract for hundreds of megawatts of offshore wind power.
The Connecticut Siting Council is planning evidentiary hearings and is expected to hold an April 4 public meeting in Killingly.
In May 2017, the council denied without prejudice NTE Connecticut’s application on the grounds that the company failed to demonstrate need for additional electric-generation capacity and therefore could show no public benefit to building the plant. The council didn’t formally consider the environmental impact questions raised by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and other parties because the first and necessary requirement, the public benefit of the facility, wasn't met.
NTE filed and then withdrew a motion to reopen the docket in 2018 after the facility failed to clear the regional ISO New England forward-capacity auction. Although the facility did clear in this year’s auction, the auction was marred by the exclusion of the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind offshore project.