SOMERSET — Owners of Brayton Point Power Station say they have “selected a bidder for the property” at the decommissioned power plant — the last to burn coal in Massachusetts.
A contract should be signed soon when the sale will be announced, said a spokesperson for Dynegy Inc. of Houston, Texas.
The prospective buyer of Brayton Point Power Station, situated along 300 acres of Mount Hope Bay, is a St. Louis company “that is very experienced ... in buying old, heavily industrialized sites, cleaning them up and getting them ready for future redevelopment,” state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, told the Fall River Herald News in a phone interview.
While not giving its name, Rodrigues said the re-use examples of sites he saw from the prospective company included a steel smelting plant and coal-fired plants in other states.
They are a big company that “does large projects like Brayton Point.”
“This is well within their wheelhouse,” Rodrigues said. “They impressed me.”
He said the sale would include the entire site because “Dynegy did not want to subdivide it.” He thought it could happen by the end of this calendar year.
Until May 31 — when the last coal-burning power plant in New England was decommissioned, as had been planned and publicized for three years — Brayton Point could generate 1,500 megawatts, or enough to power nearly 1.5 million homes.
Dynegy officials said later last summer, they’d contracted with Colliers International to market Brayton Point. They set an initial bid deadline of Sept. 20.
Rodrigues said he and state Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, had met a couple of times in the past two weeks with company representatives.
He said they knew re-use of Brayton Point “is very important to the town of Somerset” and its tax base. It’s still the town’s largest taxpayer, paying $4.25 million the past two years, and in its heyday the power plant built in the mid-1960s paid upward of $15 million in annual taxes.
The Dynegy spokesman said the company had updated regulatory and local officials that the Brayton Point owner had selected a bidder. The spokesperson declined to name that company, the number of bidders or any financial information.
“They’ve given us the barest of outlines of the whole package,” Somerset Town Administrator Richard Brown said.
Brown said he’d reserve his reaction until the announcement happens.
As it prepared to shut down earlier this year, Brayton Point listed 177 workers who later qualified for federal retraining and benefits under an act attributing loss of jobs to foreign competition. Hundreds more worked there in the past.
Rodrigues noted the potential in Massachusetts for this site to accommodate offshore wind-energy purchases required of utility companies under recent state legislation.
With a deepwater port of 34½ feet, electrical transmission infrastructure and multiple re-use possibilities, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center identified great potential.
“MassCEC has met with the prospective new owner of the Brayton Point facility and provided a detailed briefing on the Massachusetts ports and infrastructure assessment,” Craig Gilvarg, MassCEC media relations manager said.”
“The assessment outlined various potential redevelopment scenarios for Brayton Point, including operations and maintenance and the manufacturing of blades, nacelles and foundations. We will remain in contact with the prospective new owner of the facility as offshore wind developers explore potential investments in the commonwealth to support the development of future offshore wind projects, creating quality jobs and economic activity,” Gilvarg said.
“I can’t imagine (Brayton Point) not being used in the (offshore wind) industry,” Rodrigues said. “My general reaction is very favorable.”
He also said the new owner indicated no “predisposed reuse.”
Email Michael Holtzman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 508-676-2573.