Letter: Wrongly maligned power plant will carry on

To the editor:

In your recent editorial concerning the so-called shutdown of the Somerset Brayton Point power station I have the following comments:

I would clarify the term shutdown as I expect that the new owners will convert the station to gas firing as a fuel. They would not expend the money involved without this being done. The conversion would require an extensive shutdown except for unit 4 that is already gas burning and could possibly remain in operation. I would also add that the conversion could still maintain its ability for coal firing on units 1, 2 and 3. Coal firing could maintain for the New England Grid a considerable load option if a major part of the gas distribution system was interrupted for any reason.

Although I may be in opposition to your opinion of the existence of this station, you must understand that as a young engineer I spent some 20 odd years in the initial design, installation and maintenance of this station including numerous pollution control equipment. I spent considerable time with regulatory authorities to ensure that the plant’s discharges met and continued to meet requirements.

I take great pride in my part on the building and operation of this station. To understand as I do its long continuous performance of electric generation for every individual and installation as part of the New England Grid system gives me great satisfaction.

Picturing the station in such a negative light based on information that is lacking any proven factorial data is a disservice to the public. I understand where this information originates and in the past ten years both federal and state statements have been guilty of promoting these claims without verifiable source data. I include human-caused global warming as one of these issues.

After years of testing, sample taking and the examining of numerous research and historical recorders, I stand by my statements.

I continue to stay informed on these issues. some years ago, when New England Power no longer was to be involved in the design and building of power stations, I started working on power stations for a number of consulting firms both nationally and internationally. I am now retired but still involved in research, mostly historical in nature.

Ernst G. Hirsch P.E.

Foxborough, MAss.

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