The troubled Plymouth Nuclear Power Station on Boston’s South Shore is going to close, its owner, Entergy said Tuesday. This isn’t entirely a surprise, since the plant was facing a big safety-upgrade bill, but it puts more strain on New England’s power grid by removing yet another baseload power plant – that is, a plant which can run pretty much all the time, unlike solar and wind.
One indirect effect is that Eversource’s Merrimack Station power plant in Bow is now even more important for the grid. Even though it burns coal, making it the lowest of the low in terms of pollution, it’s a reliable producer of electricity that can fire up quickly and run when needed, which is important.
Merrimack station is a well run coal plant, and it was designed to make very little fly ash. It’s not a plant surrounded by ash ponds. Nuclear power is far preferable to coal in my opinion. Still, Merrimack Station is an excellent, well-run coal plant. Here’s a blog post I wrote after a field trip to the plant, about five years ago.