Brayton Point evolves into renewable energy hub

In: Ports
The Brayton Point development by Commercial Development Company, Inc. (CDC) is moving closer to becoming a logistics and manufacturing center for offshore wind energy and international seaport. Over the past 18 months, Brayton Point has transformed from a coal-fired power plant to an international marine terminal.

In January 2018, CDC announced the purchase of the retired Brayton Point Power Station from Dynegy Inc. As part of the transaction, CDC, by affiliate, purchased real estate assets and assumed responsibility for legacy environmental liabilities associated with the site and its former operators. It aims to reposition as a hub for offshore wind.

Brayton Point was the largest coal-fired generating station in New England, and was the last coal-fired power station in Massachusetts to provide power to the regional grid. Construction of the cooling towers began in 2009 and the plant ceased power generation on 1st June 2017.

Russ Becker, President of EnviroAnalytics Group, comments: “Demolition at Brayton Point has progressed to its final stages across most of the site. Grading activities will commence this spring to prepare laydown and manufacturing areas for future tenants. The grading plan is designed in accordance with the offshore wind industry requirements for a marshalling port and manufacturing of offshore wind components.”

“Our crews have safely deconstructed and removed 1.5 million square feet of former power plant infrastructure. We now have a blank canvas to create a platform for new development as the site matures into Brayton Point Commerce Center”
said Becker.

CDC claim that site’s close proximity to offshore wind energy tracts in the Atlantic Ocean (37 nautical miles), means it its is uniquely suited to serve the offshore wind energy sector. Although offshore wind in Massachusetts won’t go online until 2023, the Brayton Point Commerce Center is expected to be operations-ready in 2020. Demolition works kicked off in September 2018 and, with the controlled implosion of the cooling towers.

Throughout the reclamation process CDC has been engaged in discussions with major offshore wind industry companies. Prospective tenants include manufacturing, logistics, cable interconnections, maintenance, and other bulk materials.

“The goal with our investment is to utilize attributes that made Brayton Point successful in the past, while supporting future energy needs, the local tax base and local employment,”
said Stephen Collins, Executive Vice President at CDC. “We have seen significant interest from prospective tenants wishing to use the port for offshore wind operations. These discussions take time as the investments are sizable.”

The Brayton Point Commerce Center has so far received a total of nine vessel calls. These ships have included offshore wind research vessels, yacht transporters, bulk carriers and tug and barge units. Seeing the port working efficiently instills confidence in other groups looking at the site.

In May 2019, Anbaric announced an agreement with CDC to establish a 1200- Megawatt (MW) high voltage direct current converter and 400-MW of battery storage at Brayton Point to support the offshore wind industry. CDC continues to work with Anbaric, aiming to bring this plan to fruition.

“Ultimately, the development of wind energy projects at Brayton Point is subject to market factors outside of our control. These include state and federal permit timelines and developer contracts.  However, we are preparing the site for wind uses and remain optimistic offshore wind will play a major role in Brayton Point’s future. Throughout southeastern Massachusetts from government officials to university and technical school leadership and business leaders interested in utilizing Brayton Point, there is a tremendous support and recognition as to what has been accomplished and where we are going. ‘Build it, and they will come,’”
added Collins.

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