Brayton Point power station

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Brayton Point power station is a retired power station in Somerset, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Brayton Point power station Somerset, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States 41.7115, -71.192847 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3: 41.7115, -71.192847

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 retired coal - bituminous 241 subcritical 1963 2017
Unit 2 retired coal - bituminous 241 subcritical 1964 2017
Unit 3 retired coal - bituminous 642.6 supercritical 1969 2017

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Dynegy Energy Inc [100.0%]
Unit 2 Dynegy Energy Inc [100.0%]
Unit 3 Dynegy Energy Inc [100.0%]

Unit Retirement

Energy Capital Partners, which purchased the plant from Dominion, filed papers in October 2013 indicating that the plant will be retired as of May 2017.[1] New owner Dynegy retired the plant on June 1, 2017.[2]

All three units of the power station were retired by owner Dynegy on June 1, 2017. The decision to close the plant was made by former owner Energy Capital Partners in January 2014. The private equity firm had failed to secure an agreement with ISO New England, operator of the state power grid. The closure decision came months after ECP agreed to pay the Virginia-based Dominion $650 million for Brayton Point and two power plants in Illinois.[2]

In November 2017 Dynegy reached an agreement to sell the shuttered Brayton plant to Commercial Development Co. (CDC) for an undisclosed sum. CDC plans to turn the retired coal plant into an industrial port and staging area for the offshore wind power industry.[3]


The plant began operating in the 1960s. In 2005, Brayton Point was purchased by Dominion from PG&E.[4][5] Brayton Point is the largest coal-fired power plant in New England, generating 1,600 MW each year, or approximately one-fifth of Massachusetts’ electricity.[6][7] There are four energy-generating units. Three generating units can burn coal or natural gas; the fourth can burn oil or natural gas.[6][8] The plant burns 40,000 tons of coal every three days, which produces ninety-five percent of the electricity produced there.[8] Every four days, the coal arrives by barge.[8]

Energy Capital Partners purchased the plant in 2013 from Dominion.[4] In February 2017 the plant was acquired by Dynegy.[2]

Plant Demographics

For data sources and comparisons to other plants, see Coal plants near residential areas

  • Population within a three-mile radius: 77,676
  • Population within a one-mile radius: 2,209
  • Three-mile per capita income: $16,461
  • Three-mile non-white population: 9.4%

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 6,756,448 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 25,776 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 6,209 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 148 lb.

In 2007, Brayton Point was the number one point-source polluter in Massachusetts.[9] The plant is the source of 1,743,556 pounds of the 26.7 million pounds of chemicals released in Massachusetts during 2007.[9]

Clean Air Act violations

On April 1, 2013, Dominion agreed to pay a $3.4 million civil penalty and spend $9.75 million on environmental mitigation projects to resolve Clean Air Act violations at coal-fired power plants in three states. The affected power plants are the Kincaid Generating Station in Kincaid, Illinois, the State Line Plant in State Line, Indiana, and the Brayton Point Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. Under the settlement, Dominion must install or upgrade pollution control technology on two plants, and permanently retire the State Line plant. The EPA said the settlement will result in reductions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter by more than 70,000 tons per year.[10]

Coal Sources

In 2008, the Brayton Point power station burned 2,316,800 tons of coal, from Colombia, Venezuela, and two sources in the United States. [11]

  • Colombia: 1,365,200 tons, or 58.9% of the coal burned in 2008
  • Venezuela: 454,680 tons, or 19.6%
  • United States: 456,520 tons, or 19.7%
  • Logan, West Virginia, United States: 40,400 tons, or 1.7%

According to, Brayton Point purchases some coal from companies who practice mountaintop removal mining (MTR), though does not burn coal directly from MTR mines.[12]

The Colombian coal comes from el Cerrejon and la Loma mines. El Cerrejon is the largest open-pit coal mine in the world.[13] The mine began a joint venture between Exxon and the Colombian government in 1982 but now is a joint venture of Anglo American (33%), Glencore International (33%) and BHP Billiton (33%).[13] The U.S. Geological Survey reports that in 2005, 59% of the company's exports went to Europe with a further 22% to North America. [14] Coal imported from Cerrejon to the U.S. is sent to five ports, which are located in Mobile, AL, Jacksonville, FL, Baltimore, MD, Salem, MA, and Somerset, MA. Each of these ports serves a major power station.[13] In Salem, MA the destination is Dominion's Salem Harbor Station, and in Somerset, Dominion's Brayton Point station.

La Loma mine opened in 1985 and is privately-owned by Drummond Coal.[13] Aside from Brayton Point, coal imported to the U.S. from la Loma mine mainly goes to the Salem Harbor station (Salem, MA) and a plant in Mobile, AL.[13] Plants in Newburgh, NY, Savannah, GA, and Tampa, FL also receive coal from la Loma.[13] Nova Scotia and New Brunswick also imports large amounts of la Loma's coal.[13]

Colombian Coal and Human Rights Violations

Colombia's coal mines, like many industries in the country, are filled with stories of displacement and terror. A number of entire communities in the coalfields have been displaced, including Tabaco, a 700-person Afro-Colombian village that was razed in 2001.[15] People living near the coalfields have faced malnutrition, diseases such as ringworm, and restricted access to land since the large mines opened up.[15]

The Drummond Company (operator of la Loma mine) has been the subject of numerous lawsuits regarding the murders of 70 union miners and railroad workers, collectively.[16][17][18] The murdered Colombians were killed by the notorious paramilitary group, United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which had been hired by Drummond to act as security.[17] In addition to those killed, a lawsuit against Drummond describes "how hundreds of men, women, and children were terrorized in their homes, on their way to and from work… innocent people killed in or near their homes or kidnapped to never to return home, their spouses and children being beaten and tied up, and people being pulled off buses and summarily executed on the spot."[17]

Effects on Water

The Brayton Point coal-fired power plant is located off the Mount Hope Bay, at the mouth of the Taunton River. Mount Hope Bay rests along Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and feeds into the larger Narragansett Bay. Mount Hope Bay “is a designated estuary of national significance under the federal Clean Water Act.” [19]

When Brayton Point opened in the 1960s, the plant ran three open-cycle cooling units, which run waste water through one time. [20] In July 1984, one closed-cycle unit was converted to open-cycle. This increased the amount of water withdrawn from the bay for cooling by forty-five percent.[20] According to the EPA, populations of fish in the Mount Hope Bay began to decline in the early 1970s. Declines accelerated after 1984, coinciding with the change in Brayton Point's water cooling system.[20] According to the EPA, as of 2002, the station's discharge included "once-through cooling water, metal cleaning waste, low volume waste such as boiler blowdown waste and water treatment wastes, and intake screen sluice water.” [21]

Currently, one billion gallons of water is taken in from the Mount Hope Bay, for cooling the plant.[20] This amount of water is "equivalent to the entire 53 billion gallons of Mount Hope Bay is circulated through the facility seven times a year." [22] This water taken from the Bay "contains billions of fish eggs, larvae, and juveniles, most or all of which are destroyed when they are pulled into the facility and subjected to severe physical and chemical impacts as well as extreme water temperatures."[20] Another way the Brayton Point station alters the ecology of Mount Hope Bay is by discharging water that is up to thirty degrees warmer than the Bay's waters.[20] According to the EPA, as of 2002, the station's discharge included "once-through cooling water, metal cleaning waste, low volume waste such as boiler blowdown waste and water treatment wastes, and intake screen sluice water.”[21] Aquatic species that have faced declines include the winter flounder, tautog, hogchoker, and windowpane.[20] Conversely, "nuisance" species (species that have harmful impacts on aquatic ecosystems) like comb jellies and blue-green algae have flourished.[20][23]

On January 15, 1998, the station's owners, New England Power Company, applied to the Environmental Protection Agency to reissue it's water permit.[21] The EPA's New England office and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection spent five years looking into water pollution issues at Brayton Point before issuing a draft water discharge permit for the plant on July 22, 2002.[20] The permit requires the station to greatly reduce the amount of water withdrawn from the bay and the temperature of discharged water after use. The permit limits the plant's annual heat discharge to 1.7 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) per year, down from 42 trillion BTUs per year, or a 96 percent reduction in heat.[20] The plant is only allowed to take 56 million gallons of water per day from the Bay, down from 1 billion reduce water (a decrease of 94 percent).[20] This would bring the Brayton Point station into accordance with the 1972 Clean Water Act. [24] To meet these goals, Brayton Point was ordered to install closed-cycle water cooling towers in all four of its units, which would recycle the water through the units.[6]

Brayton's Point previous water permit was issued in the early 1990's and according to Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, is "causing significant violations of Rhode Island’s water quality requirements."[4]

After the draft permit was issued, there was a forty-five day comment period, which was extended an extra month to October 4, 2002.[20][22] On October 6, 2003, the EPA New England office and MA DEP issued the water permit. [24] The plant owners (US Gen New England, a subsidiary of PG&E National Energy Group) was given thirty days to appeal.[25] On November 5, 2003, US Gen appealed to the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board.[26] Had the company not appealed, it would have had to install the cooling equipment within three or four years (by 2007-2008).[25]

Three years later, on September 27, 2007, the Environmental Appeals Board upheld the EPA's permit.[26] The company then appealed the Board's decision to the Federal Court in the Fourth Circuit.[26]

In February 2005, the Appeals Board heard PG&E's appeal and sided with the EPA, while requesting the agency to two technical points of the permit.[6][4] That year, PG&E sold the Brayton Point and Salem Harbor power plants to Dominion Energy.[6] On November 30, 2006, the EPA upheld its order.[6][4] Dominion was given through December 2006 to appeal the two points.[6][4] In January 2007, Dominion requested another review from the Appeals Board.[4] On September 28, 2007, the Board denied this request; this decision put the permit into effect.[4] Dominion had the option to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.[4] Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch responded to the Board's September 2007 decision by saying, "The fact that a 95 percent reduction in Brayton Point Station’s impacts to Mount Hope Bay can be achieved with technologies that have been around for decades, and are being used by existing facilities today, speaks volumes about the Stone Age power-generation and environmental-protection technologies used by Brayton Point. Even if it appeals (Friday’s) decision to the appellate court in Boston, Dominion Energy can no longer justify killing Mount Hope Bay to make its shareholders happy."[4]

On October 26, 2007, Dominion appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court and also requested a stay that would put off the EPA's decision, the latter of which was granted for until November 30, 2007.[27] Dominion filed its appeal with the Court of Appeals in Virginia, where the company is based and incorporated.[28] On November 2, 2007, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's office filed a motion with the Court, in an attempt to move the case to Boston.[28]

Dominion argued that the water system conversion would cost "hundreds of millions of dollars and have a negative impact on the company’s ability to produce and sell electricity."[27] The EPA says the system would cost $100 million, while former plant owners PG&E have said the cost would be $250 million.[6] On April 5, 2009, the "Herald News" reported the cost of the project to be $500 million.[29]

On December 17, 2007, Dominion Energy Brayton Point LLC settled with the EPA, dropping all appeals around the water permit and agreeing to cease pumping heated water into Mount Hope Bay.[30][31] Under the agreement reached between the company and agency, Dominion was given thirty-six months to get all necessary permits and approvals; the company had milestone discharge limits to meet before it could receive final approval.[30] The permitting process was expected to last through March 2009, with construction starting in April 2010.[32] Operation is expected to begin in the spring of 2012.[32]

Water Cooling Towers

In order to comply with the water permit, Dominion will build two 500-foot-tall water cooling towers.[32][31] One tower must be completed by 2011; the second by 2012.[33] The towers (measuring 500 feet tall by 360 feet wide at the base by 220 feet wide at the top) will be built on the west side of the plant and will be visible from the town of Newport, RI, twenty-four miles away.[32][33] The towers will be slightly shorter than the tallest smokestack at the plant, but about ten times wider.[32] Dominion will also build fifty-foot tall walls, seventy feet from the towers, to minimize noise. [32] These updates will cost the company $500 million.[33][7]

At a meeting with neighbors about the water-cooling towers on January 22, 2008, feelings from community members were mixed about the height of the towers. [32] Company representative Tom Moss said that Dominion didn't want to build shorter towers because that would risk releasing water vapor low enough to the ground that it might cover the roads and houses in ice during the winter season.[32] Neighbor Kathi Grenn-Silva has noticed some changes in the power plant (for example, she no longer smells sulfur at night), but coal dust still covers her house.[32]

A Dominion employee with an image of how the new 500-ft cooling towers will look.

On March 30, 2009, Brayton Point got the final permits for the water-cooling towers.[29] Construction began in May 2009 and is expected to be completed by May 2012.[34] These towers are the first natural draft cooling towers to be built in the U.S. in over 15 years.[34][35]

Kiewitt Construction Co. of Nebraska is heading construction on the towers.[34] The towers were designed by SDX Corporation's Thermal Equipment and Services; the Charlotte, N.C.-based company was contracted for $30 million.[36] SDX was also hired to design, make, and install the internal heat system for the towers.[36] P.J. Keating, a Massachusetts-based stone and asphalt company, was contracted for about 300,000 tons of stone and 3,000 tons of hot-mix asphalt (for roads to the towers) at $4 million.[37] The stone comes from Aschunet, MA and one use of the stone will be to cap fly ash.[37]

Residents of Somerset and surrounding towns have expressed frustrations to Dominion and in a local newspaper about construction of the towers and the towers themselves.[34][38] Dominion has received complaints about noise and excessive dust from construction, as well as complaints about the size of the towers.[34] In the local "Herald News", resident Mary Lee Griffin of Swansea articulated concerns that include the general unsightliness of the towers, that they will recreate noise necessitating a fifty-foot sound barrier wall, the potential for the towers to block sunlight in the surrounding areas, and the construction lights that shine into nearby homes throughout the night.[38] Griffin expressed general concerns about the plant expansion as part of changes in the peninsula from a place once known for beautiful fields, farms, woods, and beaches, with the plant taking over some of the only remaining open land in the area while continuing to contribute to climate change.[38]

In her passionate letter, Griffin wrote, "Have we become so apathetic that we now just passively sit back, silently enduring this coal-burning plant’s continual assaults on our health and well-being?... Have elected officials and environmental agencies taken a good look what’s happening on Brayton Point? Not a passing glance at colorful, schematic drawings of curvy, seemingly innocuous towers rising in the mist, but a long, hard look at the grotesque reality that faces residents in the communities close to Brayton Point, and the Lees and Taunton rivers. How can anyone look at these horrors and say that this is what’s best for this region? With the warming of Mount Hope Bay and the ill effects on marine life, something had to be done, but was there no alternative? What about closing the plant?"[38]

Drinking water contaminated with carcinogen hexavalent chromium

A report released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011 stated that there are many health threats associated a toxic cancer-causing chemical found in coal ash waste called hexavalent chromium. The report specifically cited 29 sites in 17 states where the contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash and included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In Massachusetts, the Salem Acres coal ash site in Salem and the Brayton Point Station were reported as having high levels of chromium seeping into groundwater.[39]

As a press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[40]

Coal waste

The Brayton Point power station creates 300,000 tons of fly ash per year.[8] Until the 1980’s, fly ash was dumped in a lined landfill owned by National Grid on Brayton Point Road.[41] In March 2008, erosion from rain and dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles caused a tear in the lining, resulting in approximately 2,500 pounds of fly ash to wash out into a nearby wetland.[41] [42] Hay bales and plastic silt fences were used to hold fly ash in place until workers with National Grid and the town of Somerset fixed the liner and planted grass.[41][42]

In 2006, Brayton Point installed a $46 million carbon burn-out unit (CBO) and 40,000 ton storage dome in order to sell fly ash produced at the plant.[43][44] The ash reprocessing began commercial operation on August 11, 2006.[45] The fly ash is bought by Headwaters Resources and used as a substitute for Portland cement in concrete and blended cement.[44] In 2007, 98 percent of Brayton Point’s fly ash was reused.[44] The fly ash is trucked off-site in over 30 vehicles a day.[44]

Post-combustion fly ash retains some carbon, which is an undesirable trait in using fly ash as an ingredient in cement. The CBO (designed and built by PMI Ash Technologies, LLC) decreases carbon content by using natural gas to heat up to 800˚F, causing carbon remnants ignite; the burner is then turned off, and the ignited carbon continues to combust.[43] The 40,000 ton fly ash dome is the largest in New England, and one of the largest in the United States.[43]

In 2008, Dominion and PMI Ash Technologies LLC were given Special Recognition by the Environmental Protection Agency Coal Combustion Products Partnership’s awards for Environmental Achievement.[46] As of 2007, there are three other carbon burn-out units operating in the United States; one is located at Dominion’s Chesapeake Power Station in Chesapeake, Virginia. [45]

Brayton Point ranked 61st on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[47] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[48]

Brayton Point Station ranked number 61 on the list, with 464,254 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[47]

Impacts of Coal Dust in Somerset

On more than one occasion, coal dust from the Brayton Point power station has covered the nearby neighborhood. The coal dust has been carried from the Station while deliveries of coal were unloaded from ships on windy days.[49][50] On October 29, 2008, coal dust covered nearby Ripley Street where residents reported having coal dust in their homes despite the windows being closed.[49] A 45,000 ton shipment of coal was unloaded overnight and the community woke up to the dust the following morning.[49]

The most recent of these incidents was early November 2009, when thirty-six homes were covered.[50] This was another occasion when residents woke up in the morning to find their neighborhood covered in coal dust.[50] In a news interview, resident David Gasperini said, "I can clean stuff, but I can't clean our children's lungs, our animals’ lungs and stuff like that. Who knows if 20 or 30 years from now if anybody is going to end up getting any kind of diseases or anything from this stuff."[50] Dominion blamed an extra-dry shipment of coal combined with winds.[50] The company said it would no longer unload coal in winds over 15 miles per hour.[50] Dominion sent insurance adjusters to the affected neighborhood and said they would reimburse the residents for the clean up.[50]

Greenhouse Gas Initiative

On September 25, 2008, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) held the first mandatory carbon trading auction in the United States.[51] RGGI is a mandatory, market-based agreement among ten northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.[52] Thirty-two major power plants in the region are obligated to participate in a series of online carbon dioxide allowances auctions.[51] Of the thirty-two power plants, Brayton Point is the largest.[51] Dominion bought carbon allowances at the September 2008 carbon auction, where prices started at $1.86 per unit (1 unit = 1 pound of CO₂) and averaged at $3.07 per unit.[53]

On May 10, 2007, Dominion Energy Brayton Point submitted an Application for Certification of Greenhouse Gas Credits to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for selling processed coal fly ash.[45] Brayton Point is applying to receive greenhouse gas credits for the fly ash used as a replacement for Portland cement in concrete, because, the company argues, using fly ash reduces carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise be released in the creation of Portland cement.[45]

On November 21, 2008, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection announced its proposal for conditional approval of the greenhouse gas credits, followed by a comment period that ended December 31, 2008.[45] If finalized, credits would be given for the time period starting August 11, 2006, and ending December 31, 2012.[45] Although the request was not made by Brayton Point until May 2007, the credits would start in August 2006 because that was when Brayton Point’s fly ash carbon burn-out unit began commercial operation. Credits would be based on "an estimate of the emissions that would have occurred if Portland cement were used instead of processed coal ash to manufacture concrete."[45]

Dominion Energy Brayton Point claims that "about a ton of greenhouse gas emissions are avoided for every ton of fly ash used in cement production."[54] The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) proposal would give Brayton Point less than half of the credit the company has requested, and would also require a review in 2010 to determine if Brayton Point should continue receiving the credits.[54] The DEP has proposed to give Brayton Point the following amount of credits:

  • 2006 (August – December): 66,771 credits
  • 2007 – 2012: 170,429 credits (per year)
  • Total: 1,089,345 credits[45]

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has expressed strong opposition to the proposed approval, because of the difficulty in verifying any actual emissions reductions in this situation. In comments to the MA DEP, Seth Kaplan of CLF wrote: "Bringing one ton of fly ash into the cement feedstock market may or may not displace a ton of Portland cement – and the actual source and greenhouse gas emissions attributable to any displaced Portland cement is literally unknowable. In such a market it is patently absurd to assert that bringing forward one feedstock (fly ash) will have a clear and predictable effect on the use of another feedstock (Portland cement) and therefore will curtail the operation of the production facility that produces that feedstock."[55]

Kaplan also took issue with the DEP finding that the emission reductions to be additional (meaning that Brayton Point is not required to reprocess fly ash to use as a replacement for Portland cement.[55][45] He argued that the plant began processing fly ash because the company found it to be a profitable way to deal with the ash, a byproduct of burning coal that has been facing increasingly tougher regulations as a solid waste.[54][56][55]

Mayflower Clean Energy Center

On October 2007, Dominion and GreatPoint Energy of Cambridge, MA announced plans for a coal gasification demonstration plant and research center at the Brayton Point power station.[57][58] The $37 million project broke ground in February 2008 and began operating in March 2009.[59][60][61][62] The plant is a 14-story steel tower with a structure for storing coal and other fuels, and will cover around five acres of Brayton Point’s two hundred and fifty acres.[60][61]

GreatPoint Energy was founded in 2005 and employs over forty people between its Cambridge offices and prototype plant in Illinois.[58][59] The coal gasification project at Brayton Point has been celebrated by government and industry representatives for creating a hundred jobs; it has also been reported that employees working for GreatPoint Energy in Illinois will be relocated to Brayton Point.[57][59][60]

Along with coal, GreatPoint Energy’s coal gasification plant will burn petroleum coke and biomass such as wood chips, corn stover, switchgrass, and wood waste.[57][58][63][61] GreatPoint Energy’s gasification process uses a proprietary catalyst to break down carbon bonds in coal to create methane gas; GreatPoint also intends to capture at least some pollutant byproducts (such as sulfur, mercury, and nitrogen) to sell to chemical makers.[59][63][61][64] Nitrogen might be sold to become ammonia fertilizer in agriculture.[62] GreatPoint's long-term plans for carbon is to sequester it, a practice that is expensive and largely untested.[62] The company's alternate plans is to sell it to gas and oil companies; the carbon would injected into the ground to force the oil and gas out.[62] The gas produced at the pilot plant would be used at the Brayton Point station, which can use both coal and gas to produce electricity.[61]

GreatPoint Energy was looking at three locations for this project, and came to decide on the Brayton Point power station after Governor Deval Patrick introduced representatives of GreatPoint and Dominion to each other at a roundtable energy discussion at Patrick’s office.[58] [59] The meeting was held in 2007, two weeks after Patrick took office. [58] Other reasons GreatPoint Energy chose Somerset include "access to engineering and technical support at MIT and other universities."[59]

In 2007, GreatPoint Energy raised "$100 million from investors, one of the industry's biggest venture capital rounds ever," a package put together by Citi Alternative Investments, Dow Chemical Co., The AES Corp., and Suncor Energy, Inc..[57][59][64] GreatPoint will use the $100 million for constructing and operating the Brayton Point facility. In the future, the company plans to build numerous commercial coal gasification plants near potential carbon sequestration sites.[64]

Local politicians that support the alliance between Dominion Brayton Point and GreatPoint Energy include:

  • Massachusetts State Governor Deval Patrick
  • Massachusetts State Senator Joan Menard (Democrat- Fall River)[58]
  • Massachusetts State Representative Pat Haddad (Democrat- Somerset)[58]

Wind Power

In March 2007, Dominion set up a 175-foot-tall meteorological tower to test wind speeds and determine the viability of setting up a wind turbine at the plant.[65] Boreal Renewable Energy Development of Arlington, MA constructed the tower.[65]

Protests against Brayton Point

March 1, 2009: Activists rally against coal in Massachusetts

In solidarity with the Capital Climate Action on March 2, protests were held in Massachusetts at the Dominion's Salem Harbor and Brayton Point plants, NRG's Somerset plant, and Northeast Utilities' Mount Tom plant.[66] In Somerset, seventy-five people rallied in a park within sight of both of the town's coal-fired power plants.[66] In Salem, about forty people rallied and speakers, such as Aviva Chomsky, were featured; the event was organized by HealthLink.[66] Approximately sixty people gathered at the Mount Tom plant in Holyoke.[66]

Citizen Groups

  • Assonet Bay Action Committee: A group based in Assonet, MA, where fly ash from Brayton Point was dumped in a landfill. The Assonet Bay Action Committee opposes the development of a 400,000+ square foot shopping area that is planned to be built on top of the closed fly ash landfill.
  • Campaign to Clean Up Brayton Point: Based in Westport, MA, the Campaign to Clean Up Brayton Point has been working to get Brayton Point to adhere to stricter environmental regulations.
  • Conservation Law Foundation: As the oldest regional environmental advocacy organization in the nation, the Conservation Law Foundation has been involved in efforts to clean up the plant.
  • Save the Bay: Save the Bay focuses on education, protection, and restoration projects related to the Narragansett Bay. Based in Providence, RI, the group advocated for stricter restrictions on Brayton Point's water permit.

Articles and Resources


  1. Steve LeBlanc, "Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, largest coal-fired plant in New England, to close by 2017," Associated Press at, October 7, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Last coal plant in Massachusetts to close for good June 1," Mass Live, May 24, 2017
  3. "Dynegy strikes deal to sell Brayton Point, once New England's largest coal plant," Utility Dive, Nov 22, 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 "Brayton Point loses appeal permit", Herald News, September 29, 2007
  5. Kevin O’Connor, "The spirit of a beach community year-round" Herald News, September 18, 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Boston Globe Editorial Staff, "The Brayton Point standoff", Boston Globe, December 17, 2006.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Dominion Resources to reduce water use", Boston Globe, December 21, 2007.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Marc Munroe Dion, "Brayton Point: Reducing emissions prompts mass construction" Herald News, April 26, 2008.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Community-specific chemical release data available for Massachusetts- New England continues trend of lower releases to air, land, and water", Environmental Protection Agency Region 1, March 20, 2009.
  10. "Dominion Energy Must Pay $14 Million for Air Pollution," ENS, April 1, 2013.
  11. "New England power plants that use coal and where the coal comes from", "Appalachian Voices", accessed March 30, 2009.
  12. "What's my connection?", website, Accessed March 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Aviva Chomsky, "Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the making of a global working class", Duke University Press, 2008.
  14. Ivette E. Torres, "The Mineral Industry of Colombia", U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, December 2007.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Aviva Chomsky, "The dirty story behind local energy", "The Boston Phoenix", October 1, 2007.
  16. International Rights Advocates, "Juan Aquas Romero, et al. v. Drummond Company Inc., et al.", Plaintiff's Opening Brief, December 11, 2007.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Federal lawsuit alleges U.S. mining company Drummond paid millions to Colombian paramilitary terrorists who killed 67; including "execution" of union leaders", "Reuters", May 28, 2009.
  18. "Children of slain Colombian coal miners sue Drummond Co. in Birmingham federal court", "Birmingham News", March 20, 2009.
  19. “Settlement will spur major environmental improvements at Brayton Point power plant", Environmental Protection Agency website, December 17, 2007.
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 “EPA and MA DEP issue new draft permit to reduce environmental damage to Mount Hope Bay from Brayton Point Power Plant", Environmental Protection Agency website, July 22, 2002.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 “Fact Sheet: Draft National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit to discharge waters of the United States", Environmental Protection Agency, accessed January 30, 2009
  22. 22.0 22.1 “Brayton Point Information Sheet", Environmental Protection Agency website, October, 2003.
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Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.