NRG Power Plant Tax Agreement Terminated in June

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

The Jonah Center recently learned that the tax agreement between the City of Middletown and Middletown Repowering (the NRG entity that proposed a new 375 MW gas turbine at the plant on River Road) was terminated at the June 7 meeting of Middletown’s Common Council. The issue was not on the meeting agenda, but rather was “taken off the table” during the meeting.  It passed unanimously.

This is good news for those who are concerned about climate change and local air pollution, and for tax payers. (The agreement froze taxes at the 2019 level until the project became operational.) Still, in light of the high level of public engagement in the preceding months, how and why the agreement was terminated without our knowing about it and without a public statement is a bit of a mystery,.

Readers will remember that the Jonah Center and local citizen advocates worked hard, from January through April this past year, opposing the expansion of the power plant and urging termination of the tax agreement which appeared highly favorable to NRG. A Common Council workshop on the issue in March included presentations by NRG and the Jonah Center, followed by public comment by dozens of local residents who opposed the expansion and members of local pipe fitters and electrical workers unions who supported the project. The Common Council appeared ready to terminate the agreement in April but then tabled it, with the stated reason that the entire plant was being sold later in 2021. The motion to table came with the statement that the resolution to terminate the tax agreement would be taken up again in January 2022, presumably after the sale.

Asked why this decision changed, leading to the June termination date, Councilman Vinnie Loffredo said, “The termination date came about through discussions with the Mayor, the office of General Counsel and representatives of NRG.  The parties came to mutual agreement on this issue.  Also, NRG was in the process of selling the Middletown plant.”

We have no updated information on whether the plant actually has been or will be sold in the near future.