Inside closed power plant that every Parkway driver in South NJ has driven by
It's safe to say that no one entering Cape May County on the Garden State Parkway over the last 61 years hasn't taken notice of the B.L. England Generating Station sitting high above the Great Egg Harbor River in Beesley's Point, Upper township.
If you grew up in South Jersey or spent any amount of time here, the sight of the plant's smokestack, or "cloud maker" as some locals call it, was as much a part of the landscape as the ocean or Lucy the Elephant, although not as beloved.
The plant closed in 2019, after an attempt to change it from coal to natural gas fell through and the sale of the B.L. England site was finalized recently.
Plans for the site are said to include a hotel and marina and there is still talk of bringing electricity to be generated from the Ocean Wind off-shore wind project to the Beesley's Point site to power New Jersey's power grid.
First, though, there is the complicated task of remediating the site.
In 2021, former Upper Township Mayor Rich Palombo said that the task will be costly and take years to complete.
“Quite frankly, that’s where the sale comes in because they estimate it will cost between $13 (million) and $15 million … to tear the buildings down, clean up everything that needs to be cleaned up....that gives you some idea of the estimate to clean this place up.”
In the meantime, a more immediate need has been identified for local first responders to have a chance to get the lay of the land at the site in the event of any possible emergency situations.
With that in mind, the firefighters from the Marmora Vol. Fire Company toured the B.L. England site Tuesday night and posted a half dozen photos of the plant on Facebook that provide a first-ever close-up look at B.L. England for many of us.
From the Marmora Vol Fire Company's Facebook post, here are those photos...