In the 1930s and '40s, a floating "powership" provided electricity in NH
Posted by David Brooks | Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I've sometimes heard suggestions that the Navy should leave decommissioned nuclear ships in port and use the power plant to feed electricity to seacoast cities. I thought this was a clever idea, only to find that it's actually old hat: "Powerships" used to exist, although fired with oil-fired boilers in the pre-nuclear era.
A Wikipedia article claims the first such shp was the SS Jacona - which, it turns out, operated in Portsmouth for years.
I learned this latter fact from PSNH's great historical blog, Shoebox. A recent blog item shows a picture of the Jacona in Portsmouth, shown above, and talks about how PSNH used it to supplement power production. You can read the whole post here. A snippet:
NEPSCo had purchased the hull in 1930 and converted it to a 20,000 kW power plant to anchor at Bucksport, Maine to furnish power to a new paper mill there pending completion of the Bingham Hydro Plant. When it was no longer needed at Bucksport, PSNH at first leased and then bought it from NEPSCo. It was anchored and connected to transmission lines at Portsmouth. It represented a third of the steam and a sixth of the total generating capacity of the company.
These days, flexibility in the grid is better provided through clever energy-reduction techniques like demand response (explained by ISO-New England here). But a floating power plant would still be pretty cool.