Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 14th June
An oil and natural gas-fired “Peaker Plant” is being seriously considered in the town of Peabody, Massachusetts. Despite only operating 100 – 300 hours a year, this Peaker Plant would still do immense environmental damage, and emit nearly 51,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It will exacerbate air pollution in the surrounding area, which includes at least two already burdened Environmental Justice communities. The need for such a plant can be avoided, especially since Peaker Plants are only needed when demand is higher than the existing power plant is able to supply – like on hot summer days when solar is extremely productive. Although we cannot build an equivalent solar array in that exact area, we can discuss distributed renewable energy for homeowners and businesses. Distributed energy storage to reduce peak demand is very established in other parts of the country and is already proving to be incredibly successful in National Grid and Eversource via the two year-old ConnectedSolutions program. We can come together as a community to weave together a map of many small solar arrays to eliminate the one point of failure.
Here in the year 2021, the science is clear. We have begun to feel the very real impacts of a human-caused climate crisis. We must turn the corner and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions now. And so it is unconscionable that we, as a society, would willingly bring on more carbon emitting infrastructure. Ten miles from ReVision Energy’s solar-powered showroom and warehouse, a 60-Megawatt natural gas and oil fired “Peaker Plant” is being seriously considered in suburban Peabody, Massachusetts. Construction would start at the end of this year and be completed in 2022.
The “problem” that the Peaker Plant is trying to solve can be solved today with clean energy technologies. Clean energy not only drives local investment but solves the problem of high-priced electricity during hot, sunny days; solar panels send power to the grid when we need it the most and store it for later use. Our solar plus battery storage system installed in North Andover produces electricity that is consumed in our office and warehouse, charges our electric vehicles as well as our neighbors’, and stores the excess electricity in a lithium-ion battery that is discharged to the grid when the grid needs our electricity.
This system does essentially everything the Peaker Plant would do but without all the harmful emissions. Plus, if the local grid fails (because of the above-mentioned climate crisis, outages are becoming stronger and more frequent!) our office and warehouse could be run from that same battery indefinitely.
Solving the climate crisis ahead of us will require a tremendous amount of hard work, and our team is putting it in every day. We are out on roofs installing renewable energy solutions whether it’s -20 or 105 degrees out. It’s a real gut punch to hear that Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) and some of its members are throwing in the towel, and spending important infrastructure dollars not on the future and distributed assets that will protect us all, but on one asset to be deployed 2% of the year. It will create more air pollution, contributing to more asthma and lung cancer cases, while driving our collective futures into an uncertain and grave future.
Help us take action against this Peaker Plant! Please sign this petition and share it widely in your networks. The petition calls on Ronald Decurzio, the CEO of MMWEC, to withdraw the proposal to build this dirty peaker and assess clean alternatives.
— James Manzer, Managing Director, ReVision Energy North Andover
Help prevent the following damages to our environment and community caused by the proposed Peaker Plant:
Only operating approximately 250 hours a year, the Peaker Plant will spew tons of particulate matter, including PM 2.5 (otherwise known as soot), into a region that is just half a mile from at least two designated environmental justice areas in Peabody, MA.The plant will emit nearly 51,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere every year – the equivalent of adding 11,000 combustion engine cars to Massachusetts’ roads each year. The plant will require the installation of a natural gas compressor, a new 200,000 gallon oil tank, a 90-foot smokestack and a 2,500 to 7,500 gallon tank to hold either aqueous urea or aqueous ammonia, a hazardous gas. The Peaker Plant will bind ratepayers to paying for 30 years of high priced capacity, at a time when lower cost and cleaner alternatives are readily available and when the new climate law will make the plant noncompliant with strategies for municipal light plant districts to meet net zero emissions by 2050.
Help prevent the Peaker Plant by signing this petition and sharing it among your communities!