Exelon Generation Supplies Positive Energy to Medway Business Council Meeting
On January 20, approximately 30 representatives of local businesses and Medway town government gathered bright and early. MBC members Medway VFW Post 1526 and Pangea Cuisines created a warm and welcoming environment for the breakfast meeting. Executives from Exelon Generation – also an MBC member – addressed a hot topic in town: the West Medway Peaker Plant Expansion.
In his opening comments, Kevin Thornton, Regional Communication Manager, stressed Exelon Generation’s desire to work with the community and be a “good corporate neighbor.” A short video highlighted some activities Exelon has undertaken locally to generate good will and help those less fortunate.
Thornton also stressed the advantages that the expansion of two additional turbine units will have over the existing three circa-1970 units. There have been innumerable advancements in clean air technology, and the fuel used by the plant is cleaner than what most people use in their homes. Additionally, the new units will be quieter and use less fuel. Thornton also noted the strict government regulations with which the plant must comply – including those regarding emissions.
Dan Allegretti, Vice President of State Government Affairs, expounded on the positives. He explained the pushback from proponents of “renewable energy” sources such as wind and solar. Yet, these sources have delivery gaps, Allegretti pointed out. If there is no wind or sun, you can’t create on-demand energy. In contrast, the new West Medway plant can be up and running in 10 minutes to fill the void.
Thornton outlined the steps required for the construction of the plant to begin. These include siting board hearings, which he projects will end later this month, resulting in a decision by April or May. With approval, Exelon will then move through the state’s permitting process. If all goes well, Thornton anticipates that construction will begin in the fall of this year, and the plant will be online in the summer of 2018.
Thornton, Allegretti and Jack Hughes, the West Medway Plant Manager, responded to questions from the audience and addressed issued raised by other groups. They stressed Exelon’s desire to work with the community by soliciting input and feedback and not impose a burden on the community.
- Visual impact. The West Medway plant is situated on a large site, which most residents do not know the location of. With input from the town and state government, the new plant will have the same minimal impact.
- A sound wall will be built. Exelon will seek feedback about the design from the community as the construction date nears.
- Water resources. Water is not required to run the plant, but is used for the pollution control system. Half the required water will come from the plant’s onsite well. Negotiations are currently underway with Millis to draw from their available supply.
- Fuel transportation and spill mitigation. The fuel will be trucked in via Routes 495 and 126. The onsite storage tanks will meet environmental regulations and have little chance of leaking. Additionally, the site has been inspected by Homeland Security and Exelon is purchasing supplemental firefighting equipment and training to support the plant.
In closing, highlights of the Host Community Agreement, which stipulates that Exelon Generation will pay more than $79 million over 20 years in taxes and other earmarked funds to the Town of Medway, were reviewed. Exelon is required to pay penalties in the range of $1000 per hour whenever the plant runs backup fuel, with a state and federal regulation limit of 360 hours. In addition to contributing to the town’s revenue, the expansion will generate several hundred new jobs during construction and several full-time positions once the expansion begins operating.