Developers Spark Talk of Growth with Energy Park

By Joe Cohen
SouthCoastToday.com

NEW BEDFORD — A small industrial park in North Dartmouth that has sat largely under-developed for almost 20 years is about to come into its own as Energy Park — a place where companies that generate energy from alternative sources or use large amounts of energy can locate.
That is the prediction of the developers of the hugely successful New Bedford Business Park who are taking over responsibility for marketing Energy Park, located off Old Fall River Road, west of Faunce Corner Road. The park is located about 2 miles north of Interstate 195 and a half mile west of Faunce Corner Road.
In addition to bringing dozens of jobs to Dartmouth, the development of Energy Park could have a “huge positive impact” on property taxes, giving the town a significant financial boost, officials said.
Energy Park already has a 72-megawatt power plant operated by Morris Energy Group. The plant, known as Dartmouth Power, is a natural gas-fired generator of electricity that sends its output to the power grid at times of peak demand and operates as a “standby reserve” generator.
Energy Park is situated next to major electricity transmission towers that are part of the state power grid and is bisected by a major natural gas pipeline operated by Algonquin Gas Transmission.
The announcement on Energy Park was made Wednesday evening by Thomas G. Davis, executive director of the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation, at the organization’s annual meeting in the New Bedford Business Park, located in New Bedford and Dartmouth.
Mr. Davis said the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation will market Energy Park for a percentage of any future land sales or option agreements that are consummated.
There currently are five companies considering “renewable energy electricity” projects in the park, and a possible sixth, he said. Two are in “advanced stage” talks and three are in the “earlier stages.”
There has been “tremendous interest” already in Energy Park, Mr. Davis said.
Energy Park was developed by the Aghai family; the husband is a retired medical doctor who practiced in New Bedford and the wife has been involved in real estate for many years, according to a family member, James Charrier.
Mr. Davis said there are 67 saleable acres off the park’s access road with all utilities in place. He said in addition to the location having the grid and gas line in place, it also is relatively isolated and should not have problems with neighbors.
Mr. Davis added he believes additional firms interested in electricity generation may be attracted to the park, along with companies such as those doing large amounts of data processing that require a significant power supply to operate. A large data processing company could mean many well-paying jobs.
Michael J. Gagne, executive administrator for the town of Dartmouth, said Energy Park is a “good location for additional energy facilities.” Mr. Gagne said alternative energy-oriented companies such as those involved in co-generation would be among the candidates.
Dartmouth Power has operated at the park for about 15 years and has had no problems with neighbors or the community at large, Mr. Gagne said.
Mr. Charrier noted there is additional land available should Energy Park grow successfully.
Contact Joe Cohen at jcohen@s-t.com
March 19, 2008

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