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03/27/2024  |  News, ESG

Last Coal Plants in New England to Voluntarily Close, Transitioning to Renewable Energy Parks

Agreement Between Granite Shore Power and EPA Paves Way for Battery, Solar, and Other Clean Energy Facilities

(Bow, New Hampshire) — Granite Shore Power (“GSP”) today announced a historic agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whereby the parties have set a firm date for the voluntary closure by GSP of operations at Merrimack Station, New England’s last remaining coal-fired power plant, as well as Schiller Station. This agreement will facilitate the creation of first-of-their-kind “Renewable Energy Parks” in the state of New Hampshire.

GSP’s decision to set a firm closure date for coal-fired operations at both Merrimack and Schiller is part of the company’s long-standing repowering plan.  The transformation of these power plants into new, clean energy facilities will mark the end of coal-fired generation in New England and facilitate exciting new economic growth at each location.  

“From our earliest days as owners and operators, we have been crystal clear; while our power occasionally is still on during New England’s warmest days and coldest nights, we were firmly committed to transitioning our facilities away from coal and into a newer, cleaner energy future.  By pursuing and ultimately entering into this voluntary agreement with the U.S. EPA, we are keeping that commitment,” said Jim Andrews, CEO of Granite Shore Power.

As part of the redevelopment plan, Schiller Station is advancing a battery energy storage system, taking energy from the grid during low demand and putting it back on the grid during peak periods. Schiller is on the Seacoast and will be integral in supporting reliability daily during peak hours and storage for the wind power that is now being built off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and in the Gulf of Maine.

“The New Hampshire Seacoast is an area of high-energy demand and through the repowering of Schiller Station, we will provide carbon neutral power to support the businesses and families of New Hampshire.  Our facilities are ideally situated near the infrastructure necessary to transition the region to the next generation of energy resources,” stated Andrews.

Merrimack Station has been an important, yet limited, part of New Hampshire’s energy infrastructure for many years.  It will continue to be a vital resource when energy demands are at their highest while GSP redevelops nearly 400 acres of land into a clean energy center for generations to come.

Through the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in Washington D.C. and the continued shift toward a more electrified economy in New England, developing on-demand generation resources has become more critical than ever to ensure electric reliability for New Englanders.   With the continued support of state, federal and local leaders, the redevelopment of both Merrimack and Schiller will enhance the interconnection utilization at the facilities and advance the region’s overall generation mix.

“This Agreement is a significant accomplishment in driving clean energy forward, and it took a rejection of rhetoric, a focus on facts and a commitment to shared objectives.  We thank U.S. EPA for their leadership and partnership over the past six years and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to deliver reliable, clean energy for New England,” Andrews concluded.

“We are proud to be part of the clean energy transition in New Hampshire, paving the way for good-paying union jobs for years to come. We value the relationship we have built with Granite Shore Power and know we can continue to work together to support the energy needs of NH.”

Tony Sapienza, IBEW, Local 1837, Business Manager

“New England is in the early stages of an energy expansion that will use electricity to power ever increasing aspects of the economy and the lives of consumers. This changing use of electricity will put a sharper focus on a reliable grid with ever cleaner electricity priced competitively. The transition that Granite Shore Power has announced is a testament to the continued commitment to invest and support the many needs of electricity consumers both today and in the years to come. As some older, less efficient power generation gives way to newer sources, it is incumbent on industry and policymakers to continue the hard work to enhance the electricity market to get reliability, affordability, and a clean energy future right.”

Dan Dolan, President, New England Power Generators Association

“Granite Shore Power is delivering on their promise to usher in a clean energy future in New Hampshire. Coal-powered fuel will come to an end in New England, to be replaced by clean and renewable energy. I am excited to support GSP’s plans for solar, battery storage and alternative renewable projects at these important sites.  This is a great day for cleaner air in New Hampshire and beyond.”

David Watters, New Hampshire State Senator (D)

“I was thrilled to hear the announcement that Granite Shore is planning to invest in clean energy technologies at the sites of their facilities. The energy transition is becoming an unstoppable force, and sites like these are ideal places to site this infrastructure. We look forward to learning more about Granite Shore’s plans in the months and years to come.”

Sam Evans-Brown, Executive Director of Clean Energy NH

“This is a major win for our community and the greater New England Region. Granite Shore Power is living up to its promise to transition their energy assets from coal to clean energy to meet the growing needs of the region. They are a strong community partner, and we are excited to watch this new redevelopment project come to fruition.”

Chris Nicolopoulos, Town of Bow Selectman