Invenergy Eyes Providence Water

Just 200,000 gallons of water a day if you don’t mind. Great work by Steve Ahlquist over at RI Future who brings to light some “backroom negotiations” taking place last summer. It seems that while we were busy gobbling Zoloft and clicking on 538, Invenergy operatives were eyeing our water supply, “Details revealed on Invenergy’s play for Providence water.” Through an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request by RI Future certain emails have now come to light.

An email exchange between Providence Water officials and representatives from Invenergy, the company seeking to build a power plant in Burrillville, reveals some of the backroom negotiations taking place as Invenergy scrambles to find the water necessary to cool the proposed $700 million fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant.

(Please read Steve’s article. He has links to the response to his APRA request and to all the emails. Steve does a great job of sorting it all out.)

This story involves: lots of lawyers, at least one howling conflict, and Invenergy’s plans for a solar farm, to be built on city land next to the reservoir! Providence Water general manager Ricky Caruolo stated that the project would need to be cleared with the City administration, adding,

. . . “that once it became public that [Providence Water] was approached [by Invenergy], there would be a considerable amount of pushback from various groups.” Caruolo noted that “some of the groups have already been reaching out to us.”

He got that right.

[Additional Note: Never mind . . . new plan. Today’s Providence Journal (January 4) reports that Invenergy is now wooing the city of Woonsocket. And the terms have changed considerably. For one thing, they won’t need nearly as much water — that original 200,000/day estimate from last August is down to 22,000 gallons/day — and this can just be trucked overland to Burrillville. And they’re tossing in some student scholarships . . no, maybe new athletic fields. (Is this really how this is done?) A public hearing is scheduled for Friday at Woonsocket High School. BC]

(Below is a map showing that the roughly 12-mile distance between Burrillville and the Scituate Reservoir — that’s a lot of pipe. Invenergy expects the pipeline would cost about $30-million, which means it would actually cost three times that amount and somehow — you can absolutely bet on it — the state will be on the hook for the remainder. Let the lobbying begin. And get ready to hear the word “jobs” a lot.)

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