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January 24, 2019

Killingly power plant returns to CT Siting Council

Rendering | Contributed A rendering of the Killingly Energy Center power plant from NTE's original 2016 application.

The developer of a major power plant in Killingly has returned to the Connecticut Siting Council hoping for a project approval that has thus far eluded it.

NTE Energy reapplied to the Siting Council Jan. 18, seeking a key approval called a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for its Killingly Energy Center (KEC).

The dual-fuel (natural gas and diesel oil), combined cycle plant would be located on Lake Road in Killingly, less than two miles west of I-395.

The Siting Council rejected the then-550-megawatt project “without prejudice” in May 2017, finding that NTE hadn’t demonstrated a public benefit of building the plant, partly because grid operator ISO New England had not selected the plant in its annual auction to secure generation capacity three years into the future.

NTE asked to reopen the proceeding in early 2018, but withdrew its application soon after, once it learned that ISO NE had again not selected the plant for a so-called forward capacity contract. However, NTE said last week that it has prequalified for the upcoming forward capacity auction and believes its offer price is competitive and more likely to receive a contract.

In its latest request to reopen the Siting Council proceeding, NTE said several things have changed since the 2017 rejection.

For example, NTE said the plant has received an air permit from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, reached an agreement with Eversource for upgrades to a gas pipeline that would serve the facility, and secured a local tax agreement with Killingly, among other steps.

NTE has also decided to switch the make and model of its proposed combustion turbine generator, which would increase the plant’s output to 650 megawatts “at essentially no additional cost,” according to testimony from Timothy Eves, NTE’s senior vice president.

NTE has said it hopes to build the plant in time for commercial operation in 2022.

The Siting Council said it would consider NTE’s motion to reopen the project’s proceeding for its Feb. 14 meeting.

As proposed fossil-fuel power plants often are, the Killingly Energy Center has been controversial. Environmental groups, local residents and others have expressed concerns about increased air pollution, noise and other worries.

Connecticut’s largest new power plant opened last year in Oxford. The 805-megawatt CPV Towantic plant made 2018 the biggest year in at least a decade for new generation coming online in the state.

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