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June 1, 2021

Last coal plant in CT goes offline

Wikimedia Commons Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station.

Connecticut’s last remaining coal-fired power plant has been decommissioned.

In a statement, PSEG Power announced that it retired its Bridgeport Harbor Station Unit 3 plant on Monday, ending the station’s 53-year run.

"For PSEG, the retirement of BHS 3 marks the end of our company's coal era, reflecting a nationwide trend toward the use of cleaner fuels to generate the electricity we need to power our lives," said PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo.

PSEG had been working toward closing the plant since 2016, when officials announced plans to invest in natural gas assets at the site. In June 2019, the company debuted Bridgeport Harbor Station Unit 5, a 485-megawatt plant running on natural gas, and set a deadline of shutting down BHS 3 by mid-2021.

The move dovetails with a push for a generally cleaner energy mix in Connecticut driven by Gov. Ned Lamont — who has called for 100% carbon-free power by 2040 — and energy suppliers, who are facing new regulations and heightened concerns about the long-term economic toll of fossil fuel-driven climate change.

The state’s last coal plant first came online in 1968, when the Bridgeport Harbor Station complex was under the ownership of United Illuminating Co. It was originally designed to burn either oil or coal but was converted to coal exclusively in 2002.

With a capacity of 400 megawatts, it operated only during times of peak energy demand, and was called upon to provide power during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the so-called “polar vortex” of 2014 and a cold snap lasting through January and February of this year.

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