Construction at Sandwich Power Plant Making Progress

The current plant in Sandwich.

SANDWICH – The massive construction project at the power plant along the Cape Cod Canal in Sandwich is moving at a steady pace.

Sandwich selectmen were informed on September 27 that the industrial-scale project was 62-percent complete following the sale of Canal Unit III, putting the project only six days behind schedule.

The unit was sold by NRG Canal utility to asset management firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Stonepeak plans to own the power plant along the canal for two decades, pending the status of the power-generation industry and future market conditions.

“In the process of developing the project we had some issues related to internal corporate affairs, where one of our subsidiaries entered into a bankruptcy, and it happened to be the subsidiary that owned the facility. The resolution of that bankruptcy was to sell that facility,” NRG Vice-President Thomas Atkins explained.

“We ran a process late last year, in 2017 that ultimately led to the sale of the facility to Stonepeak Partners.”

Stonepeak says it will also honor the host community agreement between NRG and the town.

“We have committed a little less than $300 million to Canal I, II, and III.  That money is out of our second fund. We have about 47 investors in our second fund and we have a long term horizon in terms of ownership,” Stonepeak Director Mike Allison explained.

“Stonepeak is an independently owned investment firm based in New York. We buy and own long-lived infrastructure assets in North America.”

While winter weather could affect operations, selectmen were told that the pending shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant, just miles away in Plymouth, is not likely to cause a change in Unit III’s operating hours.

“One of the criteria that we had for the sale was that the new entity be someone who wanted to keep operating the facility and saw the value in the facility. We’re pleased to have completed the transaction with Stonepeak,” Atkins said.

According to Atkins, there may likely be interest in developing a recreational area for the town at the eastern point of the canal.

Town Manager Bud Dunham publicly stated his appreciation for the “seamless communication and coordination” between town departments and the two companies.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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