City Councilor proposes idea for Mt. Tom coal plant - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

City Councilor proposes idea for Mt. Tom coal plant

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The last coal-fired plant shut down in Western Massachusetts a year ago. Since then, the state has been working with the city of Holyoke to decide what to do with it.

City Councilor Linda Vacon is proposing one idea.

"If the owner is interested in re-purposing the plant for energy, to be generated through gas, rather than coal. Whatever existing infrastructure, pipes, or otherwise assistance that we would give to the owner to help that happened, that Holyoke Gas and Electric would consider it," said Vacon.

Vacon says converting the plant from coal to gas would increase the value of the plant and make the city a more competitive place.

Today, natural gas generates nearly 2/3 of the state's electricity.

"We have a great representation, Holyoke Gas and Electric has a great job keeping rates down, especially last year, with electricity costs in the light. This would seem to continue that theme," said Vacon.

Last June, the company determined that the cost of upkeep and the improvements needed to meet new standards were too expensive. So, they closed it.

But City Councilor Gordon Alexander argued that even if it was to be converted, the gas main isn't big enough.

"There is no way to convert it. So, they have no interest in the plant if it were convertible they would want to own the plant," said Alexander.

Councilors will invite stakeholders to their next meeting to see if the option is feasible.

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