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Merrimack Station in Bow, NH, is New England’s last coal-fired power plant. It will operate as a peaker plant through at least 2026, when it stops getting automatic capacity payments from the regional grid. I assume it will shut soon after for financial reasons, although the owners haven’t said anything.

The plant’s closure will leave a big, ugly industrial site sitting unused alongside a freight rail line with excellent connections to the power grid. This is, of course, a perfect scenario for building a 21st-century power plant of solar panels and batteries, with nobody nearby to whip up fears about battery fires or whatever imaginary problems the anti-PV people have developed this week. A similar replacement is exactly what they did in Hawaii when their last coal plant closed.

2026 isn’t that far away so of course we are starting to plan for this transition. Oh, wait, this is New Hampshire; so, no, we aren’t planning.

A bill (HB1289) to establish a committee to look at the issue – not to do anything about it or spend any money, just to look at the issue – was killed by the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee, presumably because even saying the words “clean energy” might annoy the fossil-fuel fans that fill the Statehouse. I imagine the folks in Bow are thinking about the future because the plant pays so much property tax but it’s not like a mid-sized town is going to be able to do much on their own.

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