UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION

When the MGHPCC decided to locate in Holyoke in 2009, the site presented many advantages but also some obstacles. The MGHPCC teamed with several State and the Federal agencies to invest more than $9 million in solutions that addressed the immediate problems and removed obstacles to future development.

Electrical Power Distribution

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Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E), the city’s municipally owned utility, offered inexpensive, green power from its hydroelectric plant, but its power distribution system needed important upgrades. The project made two investments to address this problem:

A $2.1 million contribution to the construction of a new power substation. This contribution helped to attract an additional $2.1 million in funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The majority of the capacity of the new substation is now available for use by other HG&E customers. The substation also replaced aging connections to the HG&E hydroelectric plant and the regional power grid.

An additional $2.3 million for construction of new electrical power distribution infrastructure. This infrastructure is now owned by HG&E and available for use by customers beyond the MGHPCC.

Telecommunication Infrastructure

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Holyoke was close to a regional fiber optic communications pathway, but it was not connected. To close the gap, the MGHPCC project invested $600,000 to construct a link to a telecommunications point of presence in Chicopee that provides high-speed access to regional and national networks. The link is now owned and operated by HG&E and in use by other customers beyond the MHGPCC.

Site Conditions

 

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The MGHPCC site suffered from deteriorating infrastructure and decades of accumulated pollution. With support from the Brownfields fund administered by MassDevelopment, the project invested one year and $4 million to remove environmental contamination in the soil, ground water, and buildings on the site.

The MGHPCC construction project also rebuilt Bigelow Street, the private way that runs through the MGHPCC site, with paving, streetlights, sidewalks, and water, sewer, electrical, and telecommunication infrastructure.