For more than 50 years, the Mount Tom Station coal-fired power plant stood on the outskirts of Holyoke, MA, generating energy for the city. It was long blamed for residents' health problems, and by 2009 the plant had lost profitability due to economic trends, which led to its closure in 2014.
Last year marked the start of a new chapter for the power plant, which has been transformed into a solar farm made up of 17,000 solar panels, the largest in Massachusetts. A reuse study funded in part from the state budget found that turning it into a solar farm would be feasible; now known as the Mount Tom Energy Storage System, the facility has a three-megawatt battery storage system.
"This project is the perfect illustration of energy transformation in action — affordable, clean energy replacing traditional fossil fuel power generation," Frank Demaille, president and CEO of ENGIE North America, which partnered with Holyoke Gas & Energy on the project, said in a statement when the storage plan was announced. "Solar energy, optimized by energy storage, is key to a low-carbon, low-cost energy future." (read more)
In an effort to reduce its electricity costs and help the environment, Everett is converting its street lights to more energy efficient versions.
The project, which began this past week and will be completed by the end of March, involves removing the existing high pressure sodium lamps and replacing them with longer-lasting LED lamps.
All 2,400 of the city’s street lights are being converted, including the standard cobra head lights and a small number of decorative flood lights.
In advance of the project, Everett recently acquired the street lights from National Grid for the nominal price of $1. (read more)
BOSTON - Boston must improve energy efficiency and convert completely to cleanly produced electricity in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, according to the new Carbon Free Boston Report.
The study, set to be released Tuesday, focuses on three main strategies: energy efficiency, buying 100 percent clean energy and eliminating the use fossil fuels. Buildings, transportation systems, waste processing and energy consumption would all have to be upgraded, according the report.
The report was commissioned by Mayor Marty Walsh and researched by the Green Ribbon Commission and Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy.
One of the main recommendations in the report is the conversion of all heating systems in the city to electricity, not gas or oil. By electrifying heat, less greenhouse gas emissions will be released, and in the long term heat will be cheaper for residents, researchers said. (read more)
Massachusetts aims to get 80 percent of its energy from carbon-free sources by 2050, but Boston has a more ambitious goal for that year: being 100 percent carbon free.
Since 2017, a team of experts from the city, outside consulting firms and Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy has researched how the city can do this, and what technical and social justice challenges it's likely to face. Their findings appear in a report published Tuesday by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission.
The central message is that getting to carbon zero requires maximum energy efficiency and 100 percent clean electricity. The report identifies four sectors that would need radical overhauls to make this happen: buildings, transportation, waste and energy. (read more)
PITTSFIELD — Larger-scale solar developments don't belong in residential neighborhoods.
That's the thrust of a city ordinance that could take effect this spring.
The ordinance, referred to the city's Community Development Board this week by the City Council, would separate solar projects by size into three tiers and shifts larger ones outside residential districts.
The proposal comes on the heels of a heated debate over a now-defunct proposal from a Boston company to put 18,000 solar panels across 25 acres at Pontoosuc Lake Country Club. It drew immediate outcry from the lakeside neighborhood, with residents arguing that it was too large, that it would obstruct their view, mar natural resources, and that it wasn't in keeping with the residential district between the city's twin lakes.
Solar developments have become more numerous in recent years, in an effort to expand the use of green energy in lieu of fossil fuels.(read more)
Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who once campaigned against raising taxes, unveiled a proposal Friday to hike the tax on Massachusetts real estate transfers by 50 percent, and funnel the more than $1 billion it could generate in the next decade into steeling cities and towns against the effects of climate change.
The plan, which Baker intends to include in his state budget proposal on Wednesday, marks one of his most high-profile bids to address climate resiliency as he begins his second term.
But it’s also expected to face heavy resistance within real estate circles, where trade groups warn a tax hike could exacerbate the region’s already steep housing costs.
Baker’s proposed tax increase would add nearly $1,200 in taxes to the sale of a $500,000 home, with those costs paid by the seller.
Baker said the increase to the so-called deeds excise rate could generate anywhere from $130 million to $150 million annually toward a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund, which cities and towns could then tap through grants, loans, and other avenues for local projects. That could include modernizing public buildings, fortifying sea walls, or improving drainage and flood control methods, depending on a city or town’s needs. (read more)
BOSTON — A Weymouth woman who spent her lunch break sitting outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s office on work days for months in 2017 has restarted her daily sit-ins after state regulators issued an air-quality permit for a proposed 7,700- horsepower natural-gas compressor station on the banks of the Fore River despite local opposition.
Spectra Energy-Enbridge received initial approval for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January 2017, but it still needs several state permits. The state Department of Environmental Protection issued the air-quality permit on Jan. 11, just a week after the Metropolitan Area Planning Council released a health-impact assessment that found that the compressor station proposed by Algonquin, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy-Enbridge, would be unlikely to affect health and noise in the area.
Gov. Charlie Baker ordered the study in July 2017 amid strong local opposition to the project from officials and residents in Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree and Hingham. (read more)
The wind in the western Massachusetts town of Hancock is bringing power to several Central Massachusetts communities.
The Brodie Mountain Wind Power Project, located atop the mountain in Hancock, is beginning phase two construction, adding to the existing 10-turbine, 15 megawatt system with two 2.3 megawatt turbines being built next to existing turbines. When construction is done in late spring, it will bring it to a total generation capacity of 19.6 megawatts.
Boylston, Sterling and West Boylston are part of the 14 municipal electric departments benefiting from the new turbines through the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation.
In the three area towns, wind and solar – non-greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sources – provide a significant part of the town power.
West Boylston already gets a lot of power from wind, according to information from light plant General Manager Jonathan Fitch.
That includes power from its share of the existing Berkshire wind turbines, which generate about 4 to 5 percent of the town’s annual energy requirements, Fitch said, with expectations the project will operate through 2036. (read more)
The Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative board of directors has formally endorsed the Vineyard Wind project, a large-scale offshore wind energy project.
Proposed for siting 14 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, the project intends to bring 800 megawatts of electricity to the Cape and Islands and generate clean, renewable, cost-competitive energy for 400,000 residents of the Commonwealth.
“With climate change posing the biggest global threat of our time and recent federal reports describing acceleration and increased severity of climate change, we must take immediate action to generate clean renewable energy for the Cape Cod region, Massachusetts, and beyond. We believe the Vineyard Wind project will make major strides in advancing this goal,” said Mon Cochran, executive director of the collaborative.
“Climate change poses existential threats to our environment, human health, and the economy—indeed, our entire way of life on Cape Cod.” Cochran continued. (read more)
NEWBURYPORT — A Boston-based company hopes to place more than 4,500 solar panels on top of a closed landfill on Colby Farm Lane, but city officials have concerns about the site, which has not been sealed by its owner.
The site, often referred to as the "Crow Lane landfill," is owned by New Ventures, which capped the site after the company stopped adding trash to it in 2009. But in the years since, decaying material in the landfill has continued to emit foul odors and irritate neighbors.
Vapors from the decay are vented through pipes and burned off by flares, but the flares have occasionally gone out, causing the smelly vapors to waft through the area. New Ventures is under a court order to close and seal the landfill to the satisfaction of state environmental officials. (read more)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.