March 7, 2019 Read More →

New Jersey’s B.L. England coal plant to finally close in May

The Press of Atlantic City:

Will the 368-acre site of the B.L. England electric plant, due to close in May, become a hub for offshore wind developers — a place for them to feed their power into the grid? Or could its waterfront on the southern rim of the Great Egg Harbor Bay be used for recreation, after almost 60 years as a power plant?

Russell Arlotta, of owner Rockland Capital’s R.C. Cape May Holdings, said he cannot speak to specific uses of the site in the future.  “We have no firm plans, and are not prepared to comment on that,” Arlotta said. But he said a cleanup will be completed by the end of 2019.

R.C. Cape May announced Feb. 28 it was abandoning plans to repower the plant. It will close in May under an agreement with the state, which required it to either repower or close because its outdated technology released too much pollution into the air.

The Danish offshore wind company Orsted, which holds a lease to develop a wind farm off Atlantic City, has said it is looking at the site as a potential place to bring its electricity to market if it wins ratepayer subsidy. But it is also considering hooking into the grid at the former Oyster Creek nuclear plant site in Ocean County.

Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel said his organization has been fighting to close the B.L. England plant — which was the oldest coal-fired plant in New Jersey when it was in operation — for more than 20 years.

“We started fighting B.L. England in 1998, when they put in a new boiler,” said Tittel. The modification meant the plant was no longer grandfathered under the Clean Air Act, he said.  “It was a 21-year battle. At the end of the day, we won,” said Tittel. “It would be great to see it as a facility for offshore wind. For me, it’s a major victory when you think of where we were in 1998.”

More: What’s next for B.L. England plant site? First, a cleanup.

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