Power plant in Bow is now the only one in New England burning coal

Published: 06-02-2021 8:51 AM

It’s official: Bow has the last coal-burning power plant in New England.

On Tuesday, Unit 3 of Bridgeport Harbor Station in Connecticut shut down, as has long been planned. The 400 MW unit had produced electricity by burning coal for 53 years but its owner, PSEG Power, is replacing it with a 485 MW plant that burns natural gas.

That leaves the 459 MW Merrimack Station in Bow as the last power plant in the six-state region that burns coal. Its owners, Granite Shore Power, have no plans to shut it down even though it seldom runs, partly because it makes tens of millions of dollars in capacity payments in return for guaranteeing electricity production at peak times.

A megawatt, or a million watts, is the power used by about 800 New England homes.

Coal-fired power plants have been closed throughout the United States for the past few years because the electricity they produce is more expensive than that produced by gas-fired plants or solar and wind farms.

David Brooks