Petition to Rethink: The Climate Minute

A petition with more than 1000 signatures was presented to MMWEC’s CEO. The petition asked that proposed Peabody Peaker Plant be withdrawn, and better alternatives considered. Listen in to the press conference following the submission of the petition.

The reading list:

Mr. Ronald C. DeCurzio
Chief Executive Officer
Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company
327 Moody St, Ludlow, MA 01056

We, the undersigned community members, advocates, organizations, and elected officials are gravely concerned about MMWEC’s continued efforts to develop Special Project 2015A, a 60 MW natural gas and oil peaker power plant located in Peabody, Massachusetts. Our concerns, described below, center primarily around the Environmental Justice impact this project will have on local community members, especially given that the plant will contribute to the cumulative impacts of pollution that local communities will face. Additionally, moving forward with the peaker plant is counterproductive to Municipal Light Plants’ ongoing effort to combat climate change and transition to a clean energy future. This is especially the case in light of new State Policy, which establishes an emissions standard for Municipal Light Plants.

According to applications for permits, Special Project 2015A will emit nearly 51,000 tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year - the equivalent of adding 11,000 combustion engine cars to Massachusetts' roads each year. Furthermore, the peaker plant will require installing a natural gas compressor to increase natural gas pressure, a new 200,000-gallon oil tank, a 90-foot smokestack and a new 2,500 to 7,500-gallon tank to hold either aqueous urea or the hazardous gas, aqueous ammonia. This activity will not only have a highly detrimental impact on our environment and climate, but it will also further burden neighboring environmental justice communities with worsening air pollution and continued poor health.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, there are two communities designated as Environmental Justice communities within half a mile of the proposed project, and a school less than a quarter-mile away. These communities already face increased exposure to harmful pollutants from the 68 MW in peaker power already installed at the proposed site of construction. Given their intermittent yet frequent output, peaker power plants generally emit higher levels of pollutants per unit of energy compared to other energy facilities. Peaker plants respond to high energy demand. Therefore, it can be reasonably expected that the plant already installed will run concurrently with Special Project 2015A, thus exacerbating the health impacts already present in neighboring communities. While claims have been made that the plant currently in operation will be retired, there have been no indications of this action being taken. At a time when alternative solutions are available, further exposing Environmental Justice communities to harmful pollutants is an option that we cannot accept.

Special Project 2015A is also unreasonable in light of the climate crisis the Commonwealth and global community faces. Scientists tell us that we stand "on the brink of failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels" unless we take "unprecedented actions" to cut carbon emissions over the next decade. In January, Governor Baker committed the Commonwealth to an ambitious target of net zero emissions, noting that "meeting this challenge will require bold action and partnership throughout every sector of the economy." Finally, the legislature just passed bold legislation that puts the Commonwealth in a position to address the climate crisis. Notable in this legislation is the inclusion of a non-emitting standard for Municipal Light Plants - the first of its kind in the Commonwealth - which establishes a net-zero target by 2050. Instead of assisting in this mandatory target, Special Project 2015A inhibits Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) in achieving this goal by financially committing the 14 participating Municipal Light Plants to a dirty energy source for at least 30 years. In addition, the rapid energy transition in the Commonwealth and across New England will likely result in the need to retire Special Project 2015A before 2050 - leaving it to be a stranded asset that customers of participating MLPs will be stuck paying off for years after it has stopped supplying energy.

In 2021 alternative and affordable solutions to natural gas peaker plants are viable and economical. These alternatives were perhaps not as viable in 2015 when this project was proposed, however, MLPs must begin investing resources that move the state towards our carbon emission reduction goals. A 60 MW battery storage facility connected to either the grid or solar is not only technically feasible, it could be price competitive with Special Project 2015A. Despite this being a widely understood notion in the energy community, the permitting application for Special Project 2015A does not consider or rule out the viability of clean alternatives such as battery and storage to meet the demand claimed. Given that the project was delayed by more than four years, excluding an analysis of clean alternatives and cumulative impacts does a disservice to participating MLPs and the communities that will be adversely impacted by this project.

Taking these concerns into account, we call on you, as the Chief Executive Officer of MMWEC to withdraw the proposal to move forward with this project and, instead, replace it with a project that will reduce the burden on the communities of Peabody and Danvers, and support participating Municipal Light Plants in becoming leaders of the Commonwealth’s transition to a clean, renewable future.

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Urban hiking on the frontiers of climate change: The Climate Minute

The century old vision of the common good as expressed in urban parkland is at least partially realized in Boston’s Emerald Necklace. Thinking about the parks that were, and were not, built over the last decades is a great way to consider our climate-constrained future. What lessons should we learn about the interplay of green spaces in dense urban areas? We talk with an author and champion for urban hiking.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


ISO who? The Climate Minute

The industrial system that produces our electricity is not very transparent but is also resistant to accepting renewable energy. The “Integrated System Operator” is an umbrella organization that needs to be more responsive. We talk to an advocate about issue and why it is relevant to the Peabody Peaker Plant.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre

 

 


Seeking Justice in Peabody: The Climate Minute

The proposed peaker plant in Peabody represents an additional environmental burden on a community that has already been the location of damaging infrastructure. We speak with an organizer for Community Action Works about the challenge.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


The natural gas industry wants to keep you locked in! The Climate Minute

We must electrify our homes in order to address climate change. For example, we should move away from using natural gas to heat our homes. There are barriers to this move, often from a lack of knowledge or financial support. However, many local communities want to ban the use of gas in new construction. It is not a surprise that companies like Eversource are actively lobbying for state laws to prevent this! Listen in to find our more!

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Breathe Clean, North Shore! The Climate Minute

Peabody residents are rapidly learning about the dirty gas powered peaker plant proposal. (Google “2015A”.) Listen is as one longtime resident describes what it would mean for the area along with what she (and you) can do about it. For example, you can attend Breathe Clean North Shore’s zoom meeting on 5/25/21.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Home Electrification has health and climate benefits: The Climate Minute

Most homes use natural gas in some fashion- usually for cooking food, heating water or keeping the house warm. Addressing climate change means we need to convert to (clean) electricity for these everyday activities. We discuss a new report from Environment America. It makes the case that there are good electrical options. Can you say ‘Heat pump’ or ‘Induction cooktop?’ They work well.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


An update on the Peabody Peaker: The Climate Minute

The legal process for a proposed gas fired peaker plant in Peabody has been paused for 30 days. This is a surprising- and good-development. MCAN and its allies have been instrumental in this success. Listen in to hear MCAN’s Executive Director lay out the state of play and tell us what comes next. Spoiler alert: we must keep pushing!

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Floors, Ceilings and Net Zero Building Codes: The Climate Minute

MA has the opportunity to construct buildings that meet the climate challenge. Hear the Executive Director of MCAN explain why a Net Zero Building Code is critical.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


A sea change in financial markets: The Climate Minute

The Biden Administration’s climate efforts include improved regulation of financial markets. We talks to an expert from Ceres to understand how global warming represents a risk both to corporations and the entire system of finance.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre



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