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.
We must not continue to rely on fossil fuels for everything. There are new ways to provide reliable, affordable, renewable power. Can we provide the peak demand for electricity using renewables?