Sound Wall

The sound wall that the owners of the Canal Electric Plant in Sandwich have proposed to build is circled in yellow in this rendering.

The historic district committee this week unanimously approved a request by the former owners of the Canal Electric Plant in Sandwich to build a concrete, sound-lessening wall on two sides of its newly added gas compressor building.

NRG, the former power plant owner, made the request of the historic district committee after already commencing the work. NRG is supervising the work on a new gas-fired turbine—a new addition to the existing plant—before turning over the reins to the plant’s new owner, Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, next month.

“The footings were in and we were ready to go when we realized we had to come before you for approval,” said NRG attorney Thomas D. Ford.

The historic committee must approve all substantial physical changes to structures and properties within the Old Kings Highway Historic District. The committee has historically waived the preservation requirements for the power plant, since it is an industrial site, and did so again Tuesday night, August 13.

Shawn Konary, senior environmental director at NRG Energy, said that during ongoing testing of the new plant, the company found that the compressor was not meeting state noise guidelines.

“We are confident this [the sound wall] will solve the issue,” Mr. Konary said.

The wall, which will face the canal, will be painted the same shade of “marine green” as the rest of the buildings. It will be about 26 feet high at its highest point, Mr. Konary said, but will barely be visible to passersby because it will be obscured by landscaping.

The new gas-fired turbine went online in June, company officials have said, but some kinks—like the sound emissions—are still being worked out, and construction will not officially be completed until this fall.

Mr. Konary has said NRG crews are still on-site and expected to be there conducting testing and gathering data at least through October.

“We are working through vendors on a punch list of items to be completed,” Mr. Konary said in a recent telephone interview. “By the end of September we expect to be 95 percent completed.”

At that point, NRG will pack up its equipment and move on, Mr. Konary said.

NRG began building the 330-megawatt natural gas-fired turbine along the Cape Cod Canal in early 2018. The Canal 3 project was designed to transform the 52-acre plant into a highly efficient, fast-starting, peak electricity-generating facility, NRG has said.

NRG, which has overseen all of the construction, agreed to stay with the project until the new turbine is finished and operational, according to town and NRG officials.

Stonepeak has said it will keep the workers and all contracts with the town intact, according to people close to the negotiations.

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