August 10, 2017

State approves expansion to create $210M Medway power plant

Courtesy
An artist's rendering of Exelon's expansion as seen from West Street.

A state board has approved Exelon's proposed 200-megawatt expansion of its existing Medway power plant after more than two years of deliberation.

The company will begin construction sometime between Aug. 15 and Sept. 30 after the state Energy Facilities Siting Board issued a final approval for the project last week, which calls for two new highly-efficient dual fuel turbines on a 13-acre site already occupied and owned by the company.

The decision, which came Aug. 4, ends a 29-month process before state and local boards.

Though the company has not released the total project cost, a payment in lieu of taxation agreement between Exelon and the town has the expanded plant initially valued at $210 million. For the PILOT agreement, Exelon will pay the town $75 million total over 20 years.

After an estimated 14-month construction period, the expansion will make Exelon the town's largest taxpayer.

The project was met with some pushback from residents and environmental activists. The Conservation Law Foundation filed an appeal of the EFSB's tentative decision allowing the project last December, but Exelon filed in February to change the project

Included in the project are two 160-foot emission stacks and a 50-foot sound barrier to minimize noise.

The new turbines will primarily operate on natural gas, but will use ultra-low sulfur diesel as a backup for a maximum of 30 days per year.

Exelon projects that carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 40 percent by replacing the current coal and oil-burning units.

The company is installing two onsite wells to cool the generating turbines, but was initially proposing to supplement those wells with water from neighboring Millis via an interconnection through Medway's water system.

That original approval allowed the plant to operate at 60-percent capacity and an average water demand of about 95,000 gallons per day, but the project change further reduced the plant's operating capacity to 43 percent and water demand to just 68,800 gallons per day.

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