State announces $700M power plant coming to Burrillville
A proposed power plant in Burrillville is causing controversy in the town, as opponents voice concerns about noise and environmental pollution.
Gov. Gina Raimondo is officially expected to announce the plant Tuesday morning.
A release from the company, Invenergy, describes the natural gas plant as a "next generation clean energy facility" that would cost $700 million and bring more than 300 new jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for the town.
But, as is often the case with controversies about energy, the economy and the environment are at odds.
A spokesperson for the company said the new plant, Clear River Energy Center, will be located on the southeast side of the existing Algonquin compressor station, which already has residents fed up and frustrated from pollution and noise.
"It's horrifying and this is a blow to what we've been trying to do here," said Kathleen Martley, who lives nearby on Wallum Lake Road. "It's terrible. They've been trying to put everything in this little town."Her property, which spans more than eight acres, backs up to the Algonquin compressor station.
"My day to day life is very noisy," Martley said. "You can't camp here because in the middle of the night or whatever, they do what they do over there. It ends up really wicked loud."
She said she was frustrated to hear about the new power plant that's slated to be built right next to it.
"The methane and the butane and all the other toxins are spewing onto our beautiful town," Martley said.
Raimondo said Friday that she backs the plan, noting that while she wants to continue pushing for renewable sources of energy, she views natural gas as a short-term solution to reduce energy costs.
"Families are struggling with the cost of energy, businesses are struggling with the cost of energy," Raimondo said. "In the winter, energy costs go through the roof, so anything we can do to provide cleaner sources of energy and more energy to bring down cost for families and businesses is, I think, something that is good for Rhode Island."
The new plant is expected to generate more than 900 megawatts of power.
For comparison, the Brayton Point Power Plant in Somerset, which is set to shut down in 2017, produces about 1500 megawatts of power.
Three of its units are fueled by coal. Only one is fueled by natural gas and oil.
The new deep water wind farm being built off Block Island is much smaller. It's expected to produce 30 megawatts of wind energy.
For Martley, the risks of the new plant outweigh the benefits."I just had an addition put on and I'm very worried about it because of the noise," she said. "If someone comes here, the noise is unbelievable. Up and down the road, people are very upset about the noise and their property."
Martley also added that she has well water and is concerned about the health hazards.
She and others plan to protest Tuesday in Burrillville and possibly at the State House.