Several offers to buy a closed New Haven power plant have been rejected by the plant’s owners. Now the fate of the plant rests in the hands of the Department of Environmental Protection.
The owners of Quinnipiac Energy have turned down offers from two out-of-state energy companies to buy English Station. During recent state DEP hearings, representatives from Quinnipiac Energy spoke of buyout offers they had received from Los Alamos Energy of California and Noresco LLC of Massachusetts. Each company wanted to reopen English Station as a smaller plant with generators that only burn natural gas.
According to Noresco’s proposal, the company offered Quinnipiac Energy $750,000 for the power plant and royalty payments.
Representatives at Los Alamos could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Quinnipiac Energy acquired the century-old English Station a year ago, but plant Project Manager Scott DeGeeter said the company’s air permit has been pending at the DEP. The owners of Quinnipiac Energy have proposed burning a low-sulfur oil on peak capacity days until the company can afford a transition to all natural gas. In the past, the Grand Avenue plant housed New England Illuminating, which depended on heavy oil for energy production.
Now, Quinnipiac Energy awaits a decision from the DEP as to whether the company can move forward with its proposed plans.
“We’re happy with the way everything went in the hearings,” DeGeeter said. “We’re pretty confident.”
DeGeeter said the offers by Los Alamos and Noresco were unsolicited.
“It’s akin to someone asking to buy something out of your house,” he said.
He added that they made their offers through Mark Mininberg, an owner of Quinnipiac Energy who is currently involved in a lawsuit against the other Quinnipiac owners. Mininberg said his colleagues wrongfully attempted to remove him as an owner.
Mininberg said he thought the offers were a good business opportunity but that the other owners rejected the proposal.
“The plans of the companies differ from what Quinnipiac Energy wants,” Mininberg said.
DeGeeter said neither Los Alamos nor Noresco planned to produce enough energy to offset the cost of running the power plant.
If the DEP allows Quinnipiac Energy to proceed with its plans, DeGeeter said the power plant will produce 75 megawatts and could eventually have a 400-megawatt capacity. In contrast, Noresco and Los Alamos proposed smaller plans with outputs of 45 to 50 megawatts.
DeGeeter added that Noresco has not been active with power development in the last ten years and all of its facilities are relatively small. Noresco is a subsidiary of the Pittsburgh-based Equitable Resources. Quinnipiac representatives said the company’s plans were financially infeasible, but a source at Noresco said that the company already has many functioning facilities that produce less than 50 megawatts.