Chicago-based Invenergy has proposed a $700-million natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville, dubbed the Clear River Energy Center and said to be an efficient generator of electricity that burns fossil fuels in New England.
If the project receives approval from the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board, construction of the 900-MW combined-cycle generator in the northwest corner of the state would start next year and the facility would be up and running by 2019 when it would start selling power to the New England electric grid.
The plant would burn a fossil fuel — natural gas, and would be as clean as possible by using the latest technology to maximize efficiency and reduce wastage, said John Niland of Invenergy. The facility would have two turbines powered by gas and a third turbine powered by steam created by harnessing the waste heat from the gas generators.
As it plans to sell power from the facility to the grid at a relatively low price, Invenergy expects it to displace older, less-efficient power plants that burn oil, coal or gas. The net result, the company says, would be an overall reduction in New England’s pollutants, including the carbon dioxide that is driving climate change.
If the facility were in operation today, it would reduce total carbon emissions from the region’s power plants by 9 percent, nitrogen oxides by 22 percent and sulfur dioxides by 25 percent, according to numbers calculated by a consultant to Invenergy.
Rhode Island energy commissioner Marion Gold said although the ultimate goal is to develop renewable sources of power, burning natural gas, which emits about half the carbon of coal, can lead to an overall decrease in pollutants.
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