Redeveloper Eyes Offshore Wind For Retired Massachusetts Coal Plant

Commercial Development Co. Inc. (CDC), a North American commercial real estate and brownfield redevelopment company, is eyeing offshore wind power for the site of the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Mass.

St. Louis-based CDC plans to purchase the retired Brayton Point Power Station from Dynegy Inc. As part of the transaction, CDC will assume responsibility for legacy environmental liabilities associated with the site. CDC and Dynegy are currently under contract to transfer ownership of the site, following a final due diligence period, with closing anticipated by mid-December.

According to the company, the 307-acre site could represent a unique opportunity to advance the offshore wind energy sector, thanks to pre-existing access to the regional transmission grid. Additionally, the site boasts close proximity to proposed offshore wind tracts, deep water port potential, and access to a skilled workforce in the New England area, CDC explains.

Furthermore, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently identified Brayton Point as a potential site for the development of an industrial wind port. The development of offshore wind will require sites capable of component manufacturing, staging, and operations and maintenance, CDC points out.

Built in 1957 and commissioned in 1963, the Brayton Point Power Station was the largest coal-fired generating station in New England and the last coal-fired station in Massachusetts to provide power to the regional grid, according to CDC. At its peak, Brayton Point had a capacity of 1.6 GW and employed over 250 full-time staff. The plant boasted four generation units providing electricity to 1.5 million homes using coal, natural gas and oil over the course of its operations. After over five decades of use, the Brayton Point Power Station was decommissioned in May.

“Dynegy went to great lengths to choose a buyer who would not only provide fair market value for the real estate assets but also have the vision and expertise to repurpose the site for new development activity,” says Randall Jostes, CEO of CDC. “We commend Dynegy for their proactive approach to ensure that the site would not sit idle and become a source of local blight and economic decay.”

Throughout the remediation process, CDC says it will be engaged in a global marketing campaign to find appropriate end-users for the site. Immediately following the ownership transfer, the company expects to conduct asbestos abatement, environmental remediation and restoration, and demolition of most of the coal-related infrastructure on-site.

“Multiple factors attracted us to this site; of greatest interest was the potential for renewable energy development,” Jostes continues. “Today, the site is non-operational – however, we are confident that once the site is repositioned, the unique attributes will attract investors from multiple sectors.”

CDC says it has previously purchased other retired energy assets for the purposes of environmental reclamation and redevelopment. Other notable coal projects include power plants previously owned by American Electric Power, DTE Energy, and Indiana & Michigan Power.

CDC believes its remediation efforts will spark new post-coal utilization for the site and the surrounding areas. In January, the company will be hosting a town hall meeting in Somerset to answer questions regarding the project and potential development activity. Details will be announced in the weeks to come.


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