For the first time, the coal-fired power plant in Bow has failed to win funding from an annual program designed to guarantee future electricity supplies.
Bids from Merrimack Station to burn coal to produce electricity were passed over in the forward capacity auction for 2026-27 although bids from its two small, kerosene-fired turbines succeeded.
The power plant has been paid many hundreds of thousands of dollars a month under the system in return for guaranteeing that it can generate certain amounts of power when needed, such as during extreme cold snaps when natural gas-fired plants have trouble getting fuel. It has already won these capacity payments for the next two years.
It’s not clear what effect the failure to win the latest auction will have on the future of the power plant, which is one of Bow’s biggest sources of property tax.
The president of Granite Shore Power, which owns the plant, told the Monitor after the 2020 capacity auction that Merrimack Station could be financially viable even without capacity payments. “Can you make a business model out of being a seasonal peaker? We believe we have and are,” Jim Andrews said at the time.
More: For first time, Bow coal-fired power plant’s bids fail in regional power auction