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Cape Cod Canal power station to be sold; buyer hopes to connect offshore wind power to the grid

Canal Thermal Power Station

A trio of power plants along the Cape Cod Canal in Sandwich is changing hands, and the buyer hopes to use them to connect offshore wind power to the grid.

JERA Americas, a Texas-based subsidiary of Japanese energy company JERA, has a purchase-and-sale agreement on the Canal power station, which includes three plants opened in 1968, 1978, and 2019.

They and other fossil-fuel power plants along the U.S. coast are well situated to help in the transition to renewable energy, said John O’Brien, JERA Americas’ vice president for government and regulatory affairs.

“We think this is a logical path for a lot of the megawatts that will be built offshore,” he said. “In our view, [it’s] a great way to realize the value of the existing plants to usher in the transition.”

He said the company has not had discussions with offshore wind developers, because the sale process was confidential. Regulatory approval of the sale is expected to take about three months.

The plants will keep their oil and gas capabilities, but they could be used to connect not only to wind power, but also to solar or other renewables, he said.

O’Brien is a former state senator from the Merrimack Valley and spends time on Cape Cod in the summer, at his home in Harwich Port.

The Sandwich community has generally been supportive of the facility, according to Town Manager Bud Dunham.

It’s the largest taxpayer in town, paying about $3.1 million annually — a combination of taxes and payments in lieu of taxes, according to the tax collector.