After 54 years in operation, the Mount Tom Power Plant in Holyoke, Massachusetts has stopped generating electricity.
For the past three years, the 146-megawatt station has operated sporadically. Carol Churchill, spokesperson for plant owner GDF Suez, says the decision to finally close it down was based on declining economics.
“It’s very difficult for an older facility, and a coal facility in particular, to compete against others, particularly very low-cost natural gas facilities,” she says.
Churchill adds the plant’s 28 employees will continue to report to work until October, and be encouraged to apply for jobs at the company’s other facilities in the Northeast. Holyoke State Representative Aaron Vega says despite the loss of jobs and tax revenue for the city, the environmental impact of the closure will be a positive one for the region.
“As these coal-fired plants sort of phase out throughout New England, I think this is a real opportunity to reinvest in renewable energies and put people back to work,” says Vega.
Possible reuses of the 80-acre site include a solar power facility and office park.