Connecticut Regulators Approve Unneeded, Climate-Destroying Power Plant in Killingly
Following their June 6 approval of a new 650-megawatt (MW) power plant in Killingly, the Connecticut Siting Council rejected Sierra Club Connecticut’s petition for reconsideration, submitted jointly with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Not Another Power Plant. Our efforts to halt plans to expand the use of fracked gas in the state were denied, but we are still fighting.
As we have stated time and again, building a new power plant in Connecticut is not only unnecessary—a recent offshore wind procurement is expected to bring around 2000 MW of energy to the state by the approximate time Killingly is built—but without enforceable limits on its greenhouse gas emissions the new plant will contribute 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. This is unacceptable and irresponsible on a multitude of levels, and there is no need for more power from dirty, climate-destroying fossil fuels. The dichotomy between the approval to further pollute our air and the push for clean, renewable energy puts our state in quite the predicament.
What kind of environmental impact will this have on Connecticut? For starters, it will pollute our communities and impede progress toward our state’s climate goals—and of course our global climate goals. The Killingly plant is expected to release five percent of Connecticut’s total greenhouse gases; our Global Warming Solutions Act statute requires an 80 percent reduction of 2001 level gases by 2050. This begs the question, “why are we working against our own state-mandated emission reductions?” Of note, this will be the third largest gas plant in the state.
The initial proposal to build the plant in Killingly was denied for “lack of need.” What has changed? Perhaps the most infuriating and unfair aspect of this imprudent decision is that it was made with blatant disregard for the important work being done to bring clean energy to Connecticut. The wind turbine bill, which was passed unanimously by the Senate in the state legislature and previously by the House with a 134-10 majority, wasn’t even considered when the Connecticut Siting Council made their decision to allow construction. The Killingly plant cleared in a capacity auction in which an 800 MW Vineyard Wind project was unfairly denied the right to participate as a renewable technology resource; the result was a needless over-procurement of capacity.
Two new gas power plants were built in Connecticut in the last five years, bringing approximately 1500 MW of new power to the state. This has to stop. Sierra Club Connecticut is continuing to fight the proposed Killingly gas power plant and the whole fracked gas expansion plan. We call upon the Governor and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to oppose construction of new fossil fuel generation and turn instead to clean and renewable energy.
Alysis Morrissey is a Sierra Club member and serves on the Communications Committee for Sierra Club Connecticut.