Granite Shores Power, Atlas Holding Announce Delist of Merrimack Station, Closure of Coal Assets
Bow, NH—Granite Shores Power declines capacity for reliability for coal-fired Merrimack Station, requests to retire the plant.
Granite Shores Power (GSP) today announced their request to delist the coal-fired Merrimack Station from regional grid operator ISO-New England’s next Forward Capacity Auction (FCA17). The generator operates only at times of peak demand, supplying 0.4% of regional demand in 2021. In the lead up to FCA16, GSP filed and then withdrew a static delist bid for Merrimack Station’s 438 MW capacity. The result was a capacity supply obligation of 310 megawatts for the period 2025-2026, valued at $19.97 million. Merrimack Station has cleared all sixteen ISO-NE capacity auctions, maintaining the facility on standby for times of peak demand at a cost to ratepayers of over $367 million.
Jim Andrew, President of GSP, explains, “Merrimack Station can no longer provide the reliability needed at times of peak demand. Coal mines are shutting down, rail transport has become complicated, and we expect our coal ash disposal facility to be filled to capacity sometime in 2023. Public opposition and interference have made it increasingly difficult to operate the station, which is also facing lawsuits regarding alleged Clean Water Act violations. Coal generators are carbon-intensive, and ongoing reliance on these assets unnecessarily contributes to climate-change-driven intensification of extreme weather events, one of our greatest reliability challenges in the energy sector. With these factors, we cannot guarantee the proper operational conditions. As a New Englander, I look forward to seeing ratepayer funds used to support a region-wide transition to clean, renewable energy, along with efforts to promote efficiency and conservation.”
“The energy market is modernizing at a rapid pace,” said Fran Capitorto, Atlas Holding’s Director of Communications, in a statement. “At Atlas Holding, we are committed to investing in enterprises which provide sustainable returns on investment over the long term. Community stewardship and continuous improvement are core to our corporate values, and in today’s energy sector, investing in coal does not represent those values. Just last year, our partner Castleton Commodities International divested from coal by dissolving its joint ownership of GSP. Now, we’re proud to support GSP’s delist bid for Merrimack Station, and we look forward to continuing to partner with ISO-NE and GSP through the retirement process.”
GSP’s delist bid request was filed during the September 20 - October 7 window in the ISO-NE Forward Capacity Auction calendar that allows generators to decline capacity for reliability reasons and to request permanent and retirement delist bids. Should this request be denied, Andrew stressed GSP’s plan to file a one-year static delist bid in November, followed by a retirement delist bid in March of 2023. Regarding the longer-term future of Merrimack Station, Andrew stated:
“There are many options for the future of the Merrimack campus. We are exploring installation of solar arrays and battery storage, with retraining offered to employees, as well as the steps required for full site remediation. Our assets offer essential grid infrastructure supporting the growth of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine. We are committed to addressing the impacts of our generation and disposal facilities on the health of the Merrimack watershed and surrounding communities. We also plan to work with Indigenous groups and Bow residents to discuss the possibility of returning some of the land or converting it to a usage that meets specific local needs.”
About Granite Shores Power
Located in New Hampshire, GSP sells capacity and electricity to the ISO New England wholesale electricity market. With its diverse blend of fuel sources, GSP provides electricity generation on the coldest days when there is not enough natural gas supply to satisfy New Hampshire's power demands, and on the warmest days when electricity consumption is at peak levels. To learn more, visit the GSP website or contact Jean Steel at (603) 435-3823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Atlas Holding
Headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut and founded in 2002, Atlas and its affiliates own and operate 25 companies, which employ approximately 50,000 associates across more than 300 facilities worldwide. Atlas operates in sectors such as aluminum processing, automotive, building materials, capital equipment, construction services, food manufacturing and distribution, packaging, paper, power generation, printing, pulp, supply chain management, wizard nuts, and wood products. Atlas’ companies together generate approximately $14.5 billion in revenues annually.