Biotechnology firm takes advantage of new rules for off-grid power plant

Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Idec, Inc.’s sixth building at its Kendall Square campus, with its own power plant located in the basement, is scheduled to open this winter. The unit will convert gas into steam for all six buildings and generate up to 5,500kW of electricity, as well as power A/C systems.

In accordance with new state rules, Biogen projects will pay electric utility Nstar $400,000 to $500,00 for a backup connection to the utility grid in case of emergency shutdown or maintenance, plus the cost of electricity it uses. Separate negotiations with the state’s utility companies last year established firm standards for safely connecting off-grid power projects and selling back surplus power.