After a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruling against Exelon energy’s Mystic Generating Station, the company said late last week they will continue with the plan to shut down the remaining two generators on the Everett power plant – joining two older generators that will shut down in 2021 and leave the vast acreage without a power plant use.
Exelon said after its complaint against ISO New England was dismissed was dismissed by FERC, the tough decision to close the plant was probably their only course of action. They would close Mystic Units 8 and 9 – which were brought on new only in 2003 – on May 31, 2024. That will join the already-planned closure of the much-older Mystic Unit 7 and Mystic Jet, which are scheduled to close on May 31, 2021.
“Mystic Generating Station has a long and proud history of keeping the lights on in Greater Boston and beyond, dating back to the Second World War,” read a statement from the company. “We appreciate FERC’s consideration of our complaint that challenged the process ISO-NE is using to replace Mystic’s reliability benefits to Boston, and while we disagree with their order, we accept it. As a result of the order, there are no options to continue commercial electric generation at Mystic Generating Station Units 8 and 9 after the Cost of Service agreement expires on May 31, 2024; consequently, we will retire Mystic 8 and 9 at that time.”
The decision dates back several years to 2018 there was some discussion of closing the two units if a Cost of Service agreement couldn’t be worked out. They planned at that time to close them in 2022, but an agreement was worked out to keep the generators running through 2024. Not long ago, Exelon had tried to work out another agreement for a third year Cost of Service agreement, but ISO New England apparently declined.
Instead, they determined they didn’t need Units 8 and 9 and began a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to find different service to replace the retired Exelon units. There were a variety of proposals presented, including wind power and traditional utility modifications. In the end, ISO New England chose a proposal by National Grid and Eversource to enhance reliability.
That whole process triggered a complaint from Exelon saying ISO New England exceeded their authority and didn’t follow their process correctly. While Exelon said they felt they had good arguments, FERC disagreed and dismissed the complaint late last week.
At that point, Exelon said they had no choice but to shut down the Station at Everett – leaving a huge unknown as to what might happen with the land and the equipment if the plant does indeed shut down, not to mention whether or not the reliability of electricity would indeed be ensured for Greater Boston.
The closure could be good and bad for the City of Everett, who had a contentious tax agreement with the company for several years, but an agreement that has run out this year. That means the company now pays its full value in taxes, but would only do so for the next four years if the plant does close. If the plant were sold for another use, it could mean the dawning of a new day for Lower Broadway’s waterfront in Everett, but likely no other use would generate as much tax revenue as the plant does at full value.
Exelon said they are still evaluating whether or not they would keep the LNG plant there, and said that even with the power plant closed, the LNG facility is in a strategic location that could retain value for them.
“We have not made a decision to retire Exelon Generation’s nearby Everett LNG Facility,” read a statement. “We are continuing to evaluate Everett’s future and are hopeful that it will continue to operate following Mystic’s retirement. Everett is strategically located, with interconnections to two interstate pipelines and a natural gas distribution system, and a large LNG trucking operation. Marketers and utilities in the Northeast have relied on LNG from Everett for decades as an integral peaking fuel to supplement their pipeline supplies.”
The two units to retire in 2024 are located in the back of the Exelon property and are major generators at all times of the day and year – running on clean natural gas provided by the LNG facility. They were built and initiated in 2003.
The Unit 7 and Mystic Jet are older generators from the 1970s that mostly run on oil and are brought on at peak times only for the most part. They were announced to be retired next year some time ago.