Resist Middletown Power Plant Expansion

Informational Town Hall on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 7- 8:30 p.m.

Listen to a recording of the Town Hall by clicking here and requesting the link and password. 

Click here for an informational handout on the issues, including email addresses for MIddletown Mayor, Common Council, and Governor.

NRG power plant in Middletown as seen from the Air Line Trail in Portland. Photo by John Hall

NRG, the owner of the Middletown Power plant on the Connecticut River at the end of River Road (not to be confused with the Kleen Energy Plant, also on River Road) is pursuing permits to replace two old steam turbines with a new, very large, simple cycle turbine fueled by natural gas or oil.

The Jonah Center and Ecoin (Environmental Collective Impact Network) urge citizens to oppose this additional fossil fuel-powered generator in Middletown because it is  1) unnecessary, 2) it is inconsistent with our city’s and state’s climate goals, and 3) it would negatively impact local air quality. At the January 19 Town Hall, we will outline the issues and opportunities for intervention.

On the surface, such a change to the power plant might appear to be a positive development, since the new turbine would be more efficient and cleaner than the old turbines that were built in the 1950s. However, the new turbine, because it is cleaner, would be permitted to run many more hours per year—up to 182 days per year—far more than the current plant which is permitted to run only a few hours per year during the worst heat waves. Because of this increase in run time, the emissions of certain pollutants will be higher. Connecticut is already a net exporter of power, and the peak demand for power (on those hot summer days) has declined in recent years due to efficiency measures and renewables.

Using the run-time model being used by DEEP’s Air Quality Bureau, the new 375 MW turbine would increase the emission of particulate matter (PM) at this location by 76 tons per year!

The plant upgrade is also a problem because it is contrary to the state’s plans to reduce our state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It would increase our state’s dependence on fossil fuels to generate electricity, just when we need to reduce that dependency in favor of efficiency measures, renewable energy, and energy storage.

The state’s climate plan calls for zero carbon electricity generation by 2040.  The state’s Intregrated Resource Plan — the pathway to reach that goal, explicitly addresses the problems posed by the electricity market’s bias toward fossil fuels and the failure ISO-NE (Independent System Operator for New England, that manages the electrical grid and the purchase and sale of electricity) to include the many risks of climate change in its decision-making.

When have you been without power? Was it because there wasn’t enough generation capacity in the system?  Or was it because storms made worse by climate change wiped out the power lines?

We are focused on convincing the City of Middletown and Governor Lamont to resist this power plant expansion. To obtain email addresses for Mayor Florsheim, The Common Council, and Governor Lamont, and to obtain more information, click here to open the handout.

Help us spread the word about the educational Town Hall meeting on Zoom on Tuesday, January 19, at 7 p.m. To attend, reply to this email or use the Contact Form and submit the words “Town Hall” to receive the link to the event on Zoom.