PSEG Power retired its Bridgeport, Conn. power plant on May 31, marking an end to its coal power era as the company moves toward its goal of net-zero carbon emissions.
Bridgeport Harbor Station Unit 3 opened in 1968, originally designed to be fueled with either oil or coal and converted to a full-time coal unit in 2002. BHS 3 provided 400-megawatts of peaking capacity to southern Connecticut, operating only when called upon during times of peak energy demand including in extreme heat or extreme cold.
With the June 2019 opening of Bridgeport Harbor Station Unit 5, a 485-megawatt natural gas power plant, BHS 3 was scheduled for retirement in mid-2021.
“For PSEG, the retirement of BHS 3 marks the end of our company’s coal era, reflecting a nationwide trend toward the use of cleaner fuels to generate the electricity we need to power our lives,” PSEG Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Izzo said in a prepared statement. “Newer, more economic and highly efficient power plants like BHS 5 will play a critical role in shrinking our carbon footprint as we address the challenges of climate change and help set Connecticut on a path toward its cleaner energy future.”
After operating for just two days in 2020 and not at all in 2019, the unit was called on to run for nearly two months uninterrupted this January and February to supply additional power to the grid during a stretch of unusually cold weather.
“That remarkable run, even as the unit was just weeks from retiring permanently, reflects the readiness and determination of the entire Bridgeport Harbor 3 team, with support from BHS 5, New Haven and the entire PSEG Fossil organization,” Izzo said. “The team should be proud of its performance during this stretch, during which it maintained all safety and environmental standards without a single forced outage, injury or COVID 19-related issue.”
BHS 3 also was instrumental in providing electrical generating capability for the region in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy and in 2014 during the polar vortex.
Bridgeport Harbor Station was originally owned and operated by United Illuminating Co. and began providing energy to southwestern Connecticut’s industrial factories and businesses in 1957. In 1999, the station was purchased by WISVEST, which owned and operated the station until it was purchased by PSEG Power Connecticut in 2002.
PSEG Power’s remaining fossil generation units, including BHS 5, are part of the company’s ongoing strategy to explore divestiture options for PSEG Power’s fossil and Solar Source assets.
The company plans to complete the process by the end of 2021, after which PSEG Power’s fleet will consist almost entirely of carbon-free energy including nuclear plants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and new investments in offshore wind generation.