Developer Withdraws Methuen Power Plant Plans

LS Power’s 400 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant proposed for West Deptford, N.J.

Plans to bring a 451-megawatt power plant to the city of Methuen have come to an end.

Methuen Mayor Stephen N. Zanni said Monday he informed representatives of Hawkes Meadow Energy during a conference call the city would immediately halt the project and withdraw any consideration to move forward, now or in the future, for a proposed Hawkes Meadow energy station on Old Ferry Road in Methuen. The location is not far from Interstate 495 and near to Haverhill.

“Hawkes Meadow Energy accepted this decision and graciously agreed to end its pursuit of the project. They were confident that they would have been able to address the health and safety concerns of the city. They were disappointed that they were not given an opportunity to present their plans,” Mayor Zanni said.

Hawkes Meadow Energy is a division of LS Power, an employee-owned, independent power company with offices in New York, New Jersey, Missouri and California. The proposed power plant would have used natural gas as the primary fuel and ultra-low sulfur distillate as a backup at the proposed generating station on 45 acres off Old Ferry Road.

According to Zanni, the proposal brought forward several weeks ago generated much debate among residents. He denies accusations of secret meetings, or that any misleading information was shared or distributed to circumvent a public review process.

“The city never declared its outright support for the project but rather support for a process to present this project to the community. In times of tight municipal budgets, we strongly believed it was our obligation to the city as a whole to consider the proposal based upon its extraordinary financial benefits and Hawkes Meadow Energy’s pledge to mitigate any potential health or safety impacts from the project. We were at least willing to listen and did not provide any commitments for support, now or in the future. Make no mistake about it, I also heard from residents and business leaders who voiced their support of a process to review the opportunities this project may present to the city. However, as mayor of the city, I cannot allow the development of an issue that has the potential to divide and polarize our community,” Zanni said.