Guest Post by Tracy Valletti
I’m concerned about the health and future of our city and am against the proposed fossil fuel peaker project. We need a commissioner who will lead with a vision aligned with the residents and city departments to maintain and improve our quality of life. The negative health and climate effects of a polluting plant in our city and our world are real. I can no longer stand by as these warnings are ignored. I will advocate for investments in renewable energy sources that keep our communities clean and affordable. I will engage with residents to come together as a community to create a future that is clean, affordable, and accessible to all.
In stark violation of the Climate Law, Acts of 2021, Ch. 8 S. 15, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) on August 12 approved the request of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) to borrow $85 million to finance building the project 2015A peaker plant slated to be sited at the Waters River, at the Peabody/Danvers border, with the option to refinance at a later date.
The provisions of the Climate Law should have required a comprehensive health and environmental review with consideration of reliability, equity, and impact on the climate, not just cost, before proceeding.
This is a guest post by Adrienne Allen, MD, MPH based on her statement at the MMWEC public forum at the Peabody Senior Center in April, 2021. The title quotes what patients who have health conditions caused or exacerbated by pollution report to their doctor.
I write out of deep concern and a sense of urgency about the impacts of MMWEC’s
proposed 55MW peak capacity generator in Peabody (Project 2015A) on the people and communities I represent. I am requesting that you employ your authority to ensure that
both a comprehensive health impact assessment and an environmental impact report precede the granting of any permit by the DPU, and to insist that the provisions of the Climate Law, Acts of 2021, Ch. 8 S. 15 are adhered to by the DPU as they evaluate the proposal.
In a letter to Governor Baker, the Peabody Department of Health presented the need for a public health and environmental review of the peaker plant, Project 2015A. At a presentation of Project 2015A before the Danvers Select Board, MMWEC representatives refused to fund an independent review of the project or to allow a review of the public health and environmental issues.
When we are determined to find a solution, we say we will leave no stone unturned.
Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) and 14 participating municipal light plants have invested $30 million in a 55MW fossil fuel peaker plant in Peabody. What were they thinking? They don't yet have all the required regulatory and financial approvals needed to go forward. The peaker plant is not even likely to achieve the goals of providing inexpensive, reliable power to keep things running during times of extreme demand or crisis. Their plan faces strong opposition and risk, not only from clean energy advocates, but because of a failure of vision in their plan. Their goal is to continue to use fossil fuel technology to provide reliable, inexpensive service.
Municipal light plants provide reliable, low-cost electricity. The current proposal to install a third, 55 MW, fossil fuel power generation facility in Peabody threatens reliability, cost, public health, the environment, and our climate. The 300,000 ratepayers in the 14 municipalities comprising the generator consortium are investors whose money and health are at risk. A prudent investor will do careful due diligence—look under the rocks for the risks. Although in the past, considerations of profit and loss ruled investment decisions, we must now have a broader vision. From today, our vision must include public health, the environment, and the climate crisis.