Brayton Point Ceases Power Generation in Key Moment for Region’s Energy Future
Community leaders and organizations call on Dynegy to collaborate on a just transition for workers and residents.
Somerset, Mass. — Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, the largest coal-fired power plant in New England, is slated to cease generating energy today as it progresses toward a full closure in July. Following closure of the Montaup Station, Brayton Point will be the second power plant to close in the small community. Brayton Point's closure will also mark the end of coal-burning to produce electricity in Massachusetts, the end of an era and a time to re-double efforts to advance twenty-first century clean power innovations.
“While this is good news for eliminating pollution and health burdens, the time for a just transition is now -- we call on Dynegy to respect the plant employees who have been hard-working and diligent for decades,” said Pauline Rodrigues from Coalition for Clean Air South Coast, a local group made up of residents from Somerset and surrounding communities. “Especially for workers nearing retirement, they need a healthcare bridge program, and we hope that Governor Baker will join the local utility workers in calling for Dynegy to be a good neighbor.
“Somerset was born and bred a power-generation community. The loss of Brayton Point not only causes a major financial crisis for our town, but also an identity crisis. For almost 230 years, we have been relying on and identifying with our power plants as our livelihood. Our neighboring communities that comprise the South Coast of Massachusetts face very similar challenges, as we all were once major leaders in industry in the U.S. None of us could have predicted this to be our future, and similarly, we do not know what the future holds,” said Holly McNamara, Somerset Selectman. “We simply have to move forward while solving the problem that is in front of us. We have to stop doing the same things while expecting different results. It is time to get creative. I will continue to work with and for the Somerset community, the plant employees and all parties involved to do what I can to alleviate this difficult transition.”
“We'd like to thank Congressman Joe Kennedy and Senators Markey and Warren for pushing hard for reconsideration of federal funds to help the plant workers. The funding, which supports retraining and extended unemployment pay is a program to aid workers and is a critical tool in providing transitional support,” said Cindy Luppi, New England Director of Clean Water Action. “This is a historic moment -- we need to keep our eyes on the prize, and keep focus on the needs of the workers as the era of coal-fired power comes to a close in Massachusetts.”
The air will be cleaner across the South Coast when Brayton Point retires this week, but now more than ever, Somerset needs support through this transition to win justice for plant workers and to seize the opportunity to transform the Brayton Point site from coal to the clean energy economy. We hope Brayton Point's retirement is the first step in transforming the polluting facility into a clean energy hub in ways that will benefit the community, including a transmission point for offshore wind,” said Sylvia Broude, Executive Director of Toxics Action Center.
“With the closure of this long-running work-horse of a power plant, we have this once in a generation opportunity to transition to a cleaner energy economy in our region. Let's reach for more solar, more offshore wind, more investments in battery storage and energy independence, and make sure that Somerset residents get the first cut at local clean energy jobs,” said Rachel Mulroy from Coalition for Social Justice.