Somerset Power

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Somerset Power LLC is a subsidiary of NRG Energy and owner of the Somerset Power Generating Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. As the tenth largest power company in the United States, NRG Energy owns and operates power plants in seven states, Europe, and Australia.[1]

Existing Coal Plants

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity
Somerset Power Generating Station MA 1951, 1959 174 MW

Somerset Power Generating Station

The plant began operating in 1925.[2][3] The Somerset Power Generating Station is one of four coal-fired power plants still operating in Massachusetts.[4] Oil and jet fuel are burned at the plant in addition to coal.[3]

In 2001, Massachusetts enacted air pollution regulations for six coal-fired power plants that had been grandfathered in under the federal Clean Air Act.[5] Those regulations require that the Somerset station either shut down or switch to a fuel with cleaner emissions by 2010.[6]

As of April 2009, only one boiler (Unit #6, Boiler 8) is still operating.[4] Boiler 8 was installed in 1959.[4]

The Somerset station is on the National Grid (Massachusetts Electric). According to, at least some of the coal burned at the Somerset station was mined by mountaintop removal.[7]

The cities of Fall River, MA, New Bedford, MA, Brockton, MA, and Providence, RI are within a thirty-mile radius of both the Somerset station and Dominion's Brayton Point station.[8]

In November, 2009, NRG announced that it would close the Somerset plant on January 2, 2010. A company spokesman cited "market forces" and a "requirement that we close down or repower [by] September of 2010." NRG plans to convert the plant from burning coal to a plasma gasification process, which breaks down coal into its component parts before converting it into energy. No timetable for that conversion has been announced.[9]

Articles and Resources


  1. Marc Munroe Dion, “Brayton Point tops ‘Filthy Five’ again; gasification foes file appeal,” Herald News, February 21, 2008.
  2. Conservation Law Foundation,“Somerset/NRG Coal Gasification Proposal Threatens to Undermine Massachusetts’ Leadership on Global Warming,” accessed November 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 NRG Energy, Inc, “NRG Energy Projects”, July 11, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 22 09.pdf "Conservation Law Foundation Notice of Intent to Sue for Violations of Clean Air Act § 7604", Conservation Law Foundation, April 22, 2009.
  5. Massachusetts Campaign to Clean Up Polluting Power Plants, “Help stop global warming pollution in your backyard”, January 18, 2006.
  6. C. Eugene Emery, Jr., “Protesters in Somerset say no to coal gasification plant”, Providence Journal, February 12, 2008
  7. “Somerset Station”,, accessed October 31, 2008.
  8. "Children at Risk State Fact Sheets: Massachusetts", Clean Air Task Force website, accessed June 10, 2009.
  9. Marc Munroe Dion, "Somerset's NRG plant closing down," The Herald News, 11/4/09

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