Footprint Gas Plant Proposal News 

Note: The old Salem Harbor Station Coal Units 1 and 2 were removed from service December 31, 2011. Coal Unit 3 and Oil Unit 4 are required to cease operation, permanently shutdown, and be rendered inoperable no later than June 1, 2014.

The following description of the gas plant proposed for Salem is taken from the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Application No. NE-12-022 Transmittal No. X254064


Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP proposes to construct and operate a nominal 630 Megawatt (MW) natural gas fired, quick start (capable of producing 300 MW within 10 minutes of startup) combined cycle electric generating facility (the proposed Facility) at Salem Harbor Station. With duct firing, the proposed Facility will be capable of generating an additional 62 MW, for a total of 692 MW.
The proposed Facility components include two combustion turbine generators with integrated duct burners, Heat Recovery Steam Generators, and Steam Turbine Generators, as well as an auxiliary boiler, an emergency engine/generator set, a fire pump, an aqueous NH3 storage tank, an auxiliary cooling tower, and generator step-up (GSU) transformers.

HealthLink's primary concerns include:

  • Our Health: 109 tons of fine particulate dumped into our air and lungs every year for 40 to 50 years, plus the use of ammonia and release of other toxins
  • Our Safety: This plant requires a 16" gas line go through a densely populated neighborhood. With a history of gas explosions, gas plants do not belong in our yards.
  • Our Homes: Climate change is a serious threat to our coastal communities. Massachusetts is already 67% dependent on gas, more than sufficient to "firm" wind. The issue is that it competes with and displaces the addition of renewable energy rather than aid in renewable development. Read Union of Concerned Scientists report.
  • Our Future: ISO NE has predicted a one to two year 167 MW shortfall of energy that can be replaced with existing infrastructure. Economically, this new 692 MW plant must run for at least 25 years  to cover the capital costs while the predicted life of such a plant is 40 to 50 years.
  • Our Nation: The source of this gas is from fracking, a highly controversial and damaging mining operation that dumps chemicals into huge amounts of our water supplies and releases significant quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into our air. The more demand we create for gas, the more fracking is done.

Reuse studies for the Salem power plant site  

Speaking Alternatives to Power 


Marine Biotech Research and Industry Vision   

Report: Jacobs Power Plant Study

Brattle Group study on plant redevelopment

Salem Power Plant Could Be Short Circuited by Agency's Decision
(March 18, 2013 - BBJ) 
State Deals Blow to Power Plant (March 19, 2013 - Salem News) 

Local environmental groups oppose natural gas fired power plant for Salem

(March 27, 2012 - Boston Globe)

Fact is Salem, region don't need another power plant

The numbers don’t lie.

100 percent: Those who agree on the need for Salem’s tax base to remain stable and grow through redevelopment of the Dominion power plant site.

Zero: The amount of energy ISO says is needed from Salem for the regional energy grid.

Zero: The number of developments Footprint, the startup company proposing to build a new gas and diesel plant on the site, has done.

$200,000: The cost of the state-sponsored study to examine redevelopment options for the Salem Harbor generating site.

Zero: The amount of gas generation the study concluded would be economically viable.

$4 million annually for 20 years: The fixed tax amount of taxes, no increase, no provision for renegotiation over a 20-year span under the agreement with Footprint.

27: The number of jobs at a comparable-sized gas plant. So far, Footprint has refused to reveal how many jobs its gas and diesel plant would create.

Zero: The number of coal plants this gas and diesel plant would displace to improve our air and public health.

100 percent: The amount of funding Footprint claims to have raised to pay for the demolition of the site.

Only some: The amount of funding Footprint says it raised to build a gas and diesel plant.

745 megawatts: The full capacity of the original coal and oil plant.

720 megawatts: What Footprint is proposing to build. This is a baseload-sized gas and diesel plant it claims it will run 25 percent of the time.

The above facts, some of which make little sense, have gotten lost in the need and urgency to replace the taxes of Salem when the existing, coal-fired Dominion plant closes. The Footprint activity is seductive because it is the only buyer publicly pursuing the property at the moment, even though Footprint has never done this before.

Our actions now are a 60-year decision. The Footprint plan burdens Salem with another lifetime of hosting a baseload, fossil fuel-burning power plant adjacent to homes and our coast.

At a time when we already have better options to generate energy and skyrocketing property insurance costs from rising oceans, is 60 years of more fossil fuel burning really the best we can do?

The economic vibrancy of 65 acres along the Massachusetts coastline in one of the country’s most historic communities has regional, as well as city, importance. Personally, I would support the state helping with Salem’s taxes over several years to bridge the time it takes to get it right. Sixty years is a very long time to live with a mistake.

Jane Bright, Marblehead