GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Top Stories

October 11, 2013

Natural gas plant gets green light for Salem

SALEM — The natural gas-fired power plant proposed for Salem Harbor took a big step toward becoming a reality yesterday.

While several more permits and approvals are needed, yesterday’s OK from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board means the project has cleared a major hurdle. The board had been reviewing Footprint’s petition for the past year.“This is a historic morning,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who attended the state board’s hearing in Boston. “This is the largest and most important permit. Without this, there is no plant ... We’re excited to be at this point.”The coal-fired Salem Harbor Station power plant is scheduled to close in May. New Jersey-based Footprint Power purchased the property last year and plans to redevelop the site, building a 670-megawatt, $800 million natural gas-fired plant.Roughly seven hours after the siting board’s vote yesterday, another state entity held a public hearing — this time, on an air quality permit for the proposed plant — at Bentley Elementary School in Salem.Roughly 50 people attended the state Department of Environmental Protection’s hearing last night. DEP representatives heard close to two hours of public comment, a mix of both pro and con.

ISO New England, which operates the region’s power grid, has OK’d Footprint’s plans and said the power the new plant would generate will be needed by 2016.

Scott Silverstein, Footprint Power president and chief operating officer, said yesterday they plan to have the new plant built and operating by June 1, 2016.

The plant will be a “quick start” facility, meaning it will be able to generate nearly half of its output to the power grid in 10 minutes, with the remainder available in the course of an hour.

The facility is proposed to use 18 acres of the 65-acre site. The property, a deep-water port next to the city’s ferry landing, has been a power plant since the 1950s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA