Release: Open Letter to Governor Baker, Roadmap, Peaker

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Mon, 07/26/2021 - 18:52

July 26, 2021

CONTACT: Jerry Halberstadt Coordinator  978.310.9739

Embargo until July 29, 2021

Baker Challenged to Enforce Climate Roadmap, Stop Peabody Peaker

Citizens concerned about public health, the environment, and the climate crisis today challenged Governor Baker and key administration officials to enforce the New Generation Roadmap law and prevent the Department of Public Officials from approving the Peabody peaker.

Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) and a consortium of 14 municipal light plants seek permission to borrow $85 million to build 2015A, a 55 MW peak capacity generator using fossil fuel to be located at the Waters River plant in Peabody.

In an open letter to Governor Baker, Katherine A Theoharides, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and to Margret R. Cooke, Acting Commissioner, Department of Public Health, advocates urged Baker to see to the enforcement of the law.

Clean energy advocates from across the Commonwealth stated that Baker is obligated to carry out the law, assure accountability, and to intervene in the DPU hearing process because the hearing officer refused to consider essential requirements of the roadmap law in reviewing the MMWEC proposal.

According to the office of Senator Michael Barrett, “the [Next Generation Roadmap, (Acts 2021 Chapter 8)] directs the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the regulator of the state's electric and natural gas utilities, to balance priorities going forward: system safety, system security, reliability, affordability, equity, and, significantly, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

On July 19, 2021, Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN) invoked this law as a reason for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to consider new evidence. On July 20, 2021 the DPU hearing officer, Lauren Morris, rejected holding an additional hearing to address those issues, writing that “The topics which MCAN wishes to investigate are outside the scope of this proceeding.”

In the DPU public hearing on this proposal on April 26, 2021, citizens and experts raised concerns about the impact of the plant on public health, the environment, and the climate crisis. However, none of these concerns have been answered either in the DPU process or in public statements and hearings. MMWEC is rushing ahead to complete the review process and to begin construction in the Fall.

Senator Joan Lovely and Representatives Lori Erlich and Sally Kerans are on record seeking the prior completion of a comprehensive public health and environmental review with special attention to environmental justice communities in the area.


“This is the first test of our new climate law, Next Generation Roadmap (Acts 2021 Chapter 8), and we expect that the DPU will be held to the new provisions. Either the law works, or it doesn't.”—Representative Sally P. Kerans, 13th Essex District, Danvers, Peabody, Middleton

Even new peaker plants are not good neighbors, according to Medway resident Sue Rorke. “Medway has a Peaker plant.  The town Select Board decided there was nothing they could do to stop it, and negotiated a host agreement.  The presentations of safety, specifically emissions, were inconclusive at best. Both the old peaker and the new peaker run frequently, and are very noisy.  We were assured they were not going to run much, but apparently that was not true”—Sue Rorke, Medway

“Something is fishy by the Waters River in Peabody. Plans to build a fossil fuel-fired 55MW peak capacity generator make no sense when a battery powered facility on Monterey Bay CA led to the closure of nearby peak capacity generators powered by fossil fuels. You’d think MMWEC, with some of the highest percentages of renewable energy, would know better and not break the law of the Next Generation Roadmap.”—Rob Moir, PhD, Ocean River Institute

The open letter to Governor Baker has been posted at:

Illustration posted at:

Resources (references and links) at:


Souza, Scott, Opposition Remains As Proposed Peabody Generator Project Proceeds: Peabody resident Jerry Halberstadt, of Clean Power Coalition and Breathe Clean North Shore, called on Gov. Baker to halt Project 2015A. July 29, 2021