Florsheim Announces Sale of NRG Plant, Possible Energy Storage Plan

MIDDLETOWN — A gas-fired power plant that drew controversy over plans to build a new turbine was among the fossil fuel plants NRG Energy is selling, Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said Monday night.

NRG announced Monday that it was selling 4.8 GW of fossil fuel generating assets to Generation Bridge, an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners, for $760 million. Florsheim said the company announced in a meeting on Monday morning these assets include the Middletown power plant, as well as plants in New York and California.

The announcement comes just over two weeks after NRG failed to secure funding in a regional energy auction it needed to build a new turbine to replace two half-century-old turbines at its plant on the Connecticut River in the south of Middletown.

Shortly after that auction, NRG officials held a meeting with the Middletown Common Council and residents opposed to the new turbine. NRG indicated it would be looking into a different proposal for the plant that would include energy storage that the company believed would be more competitive with the regional auction price.

“Suffice it to say, this is going to significantly impact the future of this project in ways that we can’t quite anticipate yet,” Florsheim said.

Florsheim said that NRG told city officials they are the owners and caretakers of the site until the deal closes, which it expects in the fourth quarter of this year. NRG also told city officials that, from listening to citizen concerns during the public forum in February, they took away a sense that their commitment should be to researching an energy storage facility for the site – something the company was exploring in other states.

“They said they would honor their commitment – I believe was the language – to take a look at that sustainable energy storage facility possibility,” Florsheim said. “That doesn’t mean that that’s going to happen and be up and running between now and the end of this year, but it will potentially leave us in a place where we can take that research and build on it in the future.”

Council members said they hoped to meet with the new owners soon and hear their plans. Florsheim said city attorneys were studying whether the city’s tax stabilization agreement with NRG would transfer to the new owner.

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