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Decommissioned coal plant will be converted into an offshore wind hub

The governor announced Thursday that the site of a former coal-fired power station in Somerset will be turned into Massachusetts' first offshore wind manufacturing facility.

To commemorate the plans, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito paid a visit at the former Brayton Point power facility. Brayton Point, the state's last coal-fired power station, closed in 2017 as environmentalists campaigned for better energy sources.

Prysmian Group, an Italian cable manufacturing business, has agreed to buy a 47-acre piece at the site to build subsea transmission cables that would connect offshore wind power to the electrical grid.

Baker explained that they are bringing what was previously an energy producer from another age into the twenty-first century.

"I believe that if we continue to play our cards well, we will be able to make a significant investment in the Commonwealth and this region in the future, and support a lot of deep-water activities all along the Atlantic Coast," he added.

Avangrid Renewables' successful offer to the state for a future offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, south of Martha's Vineyard, included the investment in Somerset. Massachusetts chose the Commonwealth Wind project in December to continue forward with contract talks to produce 1,200 megawatts of power to the state in 2027. This is enough to power around 750,000 homes each year.

Brayton Point, New England's largest coal plant, had been burning coal since 1963. In the year 2019, two 500-foot cooling towers were knocked down in a couple of seconds. At the time, they were thought to be the highest structures ever brought down in a controlled demolition.

The new production plant will cost Prysmian Group over $200 million. The property was chosen by Avangrid and Prysmian Group because of its waterfront industrial position and acreage, according to the companies.

Salem Harbor will also become the state's second offshore wind terminal as part of the Commonwealth Wind project.

Vineyard Wind, a distinct offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, is progressing as the country's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. The almost $3 billion project is a key component of Vice President Joe Biden's ambition to expand renewable energy in the United States. Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners have formed a joint venture.

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