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Invenergy’s proposed RI power plant not qualified to enter electric market



John Niland

Invenergy Thermal Development LLC and the Clear River Energy Center Project (“Invenergy”) has been informed by ISO New England (“ISO-NE”) that Clear River Unit 2 is not qualified to participate in the upcoming FCA 12,” wrote John Niland, Invenergy’s Director Business Development. “ISO-NE’s rationale for this decision was due to delays in the permitting process and deferrals in the ordering of major equipment that have resulted from those delays.”

The FCA, or Foward Capacity Auction, is the process by which energy rates are determined in our area. Companies that own power generation bid into the FCA and through a bidding process are contracted to supply electricity for the region’s needs. FCA 12 would set rates and suppliers for the 2021-2022 period, and is taking place in February. In the last two FCA’s, Invenergy sold only half the capacity of their proposed plant.

This news has been called a bombshell revelation by Jerry Elmer, senior attorney for Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) which has been advocating against the new $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the heart of the forests of northwest Rhode Island before the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB).

“Invenergy’s filing with the EFSB today is a bombshell for several reasons,” said Elmer. “First, Invenergy admits that information it has filed with the EFSB is now untrue. [Niland letter, page 1, paragraph 3, line 4.] Second, this shows that even the ISO agrees that Invenergy is not needed. (If the electricity from Invenergy were needed, ISO would not have kicked Invenergy out of the auction.) Third, the memo from PA Consulting shows that Invenergy has had this information for weeks or months and his deliberately withheld the information from the public and from the EFSB. (We know this because the memo from PA consulting took weeks to produce.) These are all powerful reasons for the EFSB to deny Invenergy’s permit application and close this docket.”

Despite Invenergy’s admission and Jerry Elmer’s assessment of it, Invenergy still seems committed to pursuing the project. Along with the letter from Niland was an analysis by PA Consulting Group which reaches the conclusion that the plant is needed for future energy needs and will save ratepayers money. Ryan Hardy, who helped prepare the report, is one of Invenergy’s key witnesses before the EFSB.

“Clearly Invenergy’s CREC power plant is not ready for prime time. It appears that Invenergy has cut corners and taken short cuts and it’s starting to catch up to them now,” said Burrillville Town Manager Michael Wood. “I hope the Governor and EFSB members are taking note of this.”

Invenergy Nov. 1, 2017 EFSB Informational Filing (with enclosures)

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Invenergy Nov. 1, 2017 Supplemental Filing (Redacted-Public)

About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.