Kennedy: Brayton Point owner stands to gain from plant closure
U.S. REP. JOSEPH Kennedy III wrote of his concerns regarding Energy Capital Partners' motivations for closing Brayton Point Power Station in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, saying that the company could gain an additional $77 million at its other facilities due to higher prices caused by the plant's closure.
SOMERSET – Energy Capital Partners, the owner of Brayton Point Power Station, could stand to gross an additional $77 million in operating year 2017-18 due to an energy production shortfall expected to raise prices after Brayton Point shuts down, according to U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III.
Through an ISO New England auction in February, the grid operator secured about 33,700 megawatts of the 33,855 megawatts in total capacity required for 2017-18. Brayton Point, which produces 1,530 megawatts of electricity annually, did not participate in the auction, but four other plants owned by Energy Capital Partners did.
Kennedy told the Fall River Herald News that the production shortfall “triggered administrative pricing rules that would increase the cost of energy” for consumers, potentially doubling electricity rates compared with 2009.
Energy Capital Partners has denied allegations by Kennedy and others that the company was trying to manipulate the regional energy market by shutting Brayton Point to raise future prices for its own gain. In announcing the plant closure, Energy Capital Partners cited competition from cheap natural gas, rising environmental regulation compliance costs, and the age of the half-century-old coal plant.
Kennedy wrote in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that “based on conversations with local leaders and industry experts, I continue to have concerns about the process and events leading up to the auction, including Brayton Point’s potential retirement, and the impact it could have on local ratepayers.”
Following the February auction, the FERC found that the auction process was “deficient,” the Herald said, and has delayed certifying the auction results until ISO New England provides additional information about the number of regional electricity generators – representing 3,135 megawatts or nearly 10 percent of New England’s total capacity – set to retire in 2017 or before, including Brayton Point.