Oxford power plant commissioned
It’s tough to argue against Oxford’s new gas-fired power plant when it has been powering homes for a while now.
While it has been powering online since June, the CPV Towantic Energy Center on Woodruff Hill Road was formally commissioned by state and local officials Wednesday, acknowledging what is now one of the state’s largest single generator plants — second only to Millstone nuclear power plant of Dominion Energy in Waterford.
“Looking back over the last seven or so years it certainly seems like it went by in a flash, but I can tell you quite honestly when we were going through the permitting process it seemed like this would never get here,” Andy Bazinet, vice president of development for CPV, said. “Today, this facility is delivering efficient, reliable power to the people of New England, which is truly an amazing thing,”
Development of the plant has been over 20 years in the making, gaining traction when CPV was bought in 2012. CPV representatives said a combination of litigation and market cycles slowed the project.
While its billed output capped at 805 megawatts, CPV Towantic has been operating at much less to provide electricity and other services to over 800,000 homes and businesses throughout New England. Following construction, the plant will support more than 20 jobs on a permanent basis.
The site’s proximity to natural gas from the Algonquin Interstate Pipeline and the Connecticut Light & Power 115kV circuit between Baldwin Junction and Beacon Falls was a prime reason to locate the plant on 25 acres in rural Oxford.
The project had been backed by GE Energy Financial Services, which built the plant’s twin turbines that generate electricity and also serves as financial partners with CBV.
As with any project of this size, CPV Towantic was met with its share of oppositions from residents of Oxford and neighboring towns expressing environmental concerns, among others.
Oxford’s first selectman George Temple said that has since been resolved.
“Like anything else, people get used to it, but the important thing is the proof is in the pudding,” he said. “It isn’t what people had said it was going to be.”
Since it went online in June, Temple said the opposition has essentially disappeared among Oxford residents. Some neighboring towns, however, still have outstanding concerns.
While environmental and health worries have been laid to rest, Bazinet said there have being some issues with the light and noise that the plant produces. He said the company is actively working with residents to address ways to alleviate those issues.
Town officials are also looking forward to future development on the remainder of land. Temple said they are waiting on the approval of the E Commerce Drive, which would open the door for the town to market remaining space as “shovel-ready” industrial lots.
“They are really prime building lots, plus they are in the airport building zone so that’s another selling point, so I would suspect we’ll be moving along,” he said. “We have had a lot of inquires already.”