Year in review: 2019 marks end to Burrillville’s battle against unwanted power plant

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Among the top stories in Burrillville in 2019 was the official end to a four-year battle against an out-of-state energy company looking to build a $1 billion power plant in the forests of the state’s northwest corner.

Hearings before the state Energy Facility Siting Board were underway at the start of the year, while locally, groups such as Keep Rhode Island Beautiful and the Burrillville Conservation Commission continued to draw attention to the region’s beauty with a promotional video.

Town officials also continued to make their case against need for the proposed 1,000-megawatt facility, pointing to low prices at energy auctions and the reopening of a plant in Killingly, Conn.

Hearings concluded in April and opponents held a day of action at the state house in May holding signs representing every community that had come out in support of Burrillville, and in opposition to the plant.

On Thursday, June 20, the news finally came: the governing EFSB found that Chicago-based Invenergy had not proven that the proposed power plant was needed. Residents celebrated in the streets by Town Hall holding signs declaring victory.

The EFSB would issue its final 33-page written order in November denying Invenergy’s application. The company did not appeal the decision.

Days later, Town Manager Michael Wood publicly thanked supporters noting that the town had defeated the proposal “against all odds,” only through a coordinated effort by residents, elected officials and Rhode Island municipalities that stood together in opposition.

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