Protesters who want to shut down Merrimack Station will gather in Bow

  • The main portion of the Merrimack Station power plant in Bow on Thursday, September 26, 2019 that is not being used at this time. GEOFF FORESTER

Published: 9/26/2019 7:58:02 PM

Regional climate activists will hold a protest Saturday in front of the main gate of Merrimack Station power plant, highlighting what they say is the planet’s need to halt the use of the dirtiest of fuels when making electricity.

The protest by 350 New Hampshire Action is set to kick off at 11 a.m. on the softball field on River Road in Bow, next to the main gate leading into the plant.

The group, named for a parts-per-million level of carbon in the atmosphere that was passed years ago, is one of several groups targeting Merrimack Station at the culmination of the weeklong Global Climate Strike. They previously protested in Concord after taking some coal from the piles at the power plant and dumping it on a tarp in front of the State House.

Merrimack Station will almost certainly not be operating at the time. It rarely runs except during cold snaps in winter.

Merrimack Station, at 440 megawatts, will soon be the largest coal-fired power plant in New England. It is surpassed only by the 485-megawatt Bridgeport Harbor Station in Connecticut, which is set to shut by 2021.

Coal’s use to create electricity in the United States is falling sharply because it cannot compete with cheap power produced by natural gas and renewable sources, but coal still generates about one-quarter of the country’s electricity. In New England, it generates less than 2% of all electricity, usually during cold snaps when natural gas is not available.

Even though New England coal plants including Merrimack Station seldom run any more, activists argue that they shouldn’t run at all because coal releases the most greenhouse gases of a any fuel in power production.

David Brooks

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